The Ukrainian Air Force says its anti-aircraft gunners shot down two Russian attack helicopters in the Kherson region, where the Ukrainian military is currently engaged in a counteroffensive.
Ukraine’s Air Command South reported on Monday evening that units of its Odesa-based anti-aircraft missile brigade had successfully struck each of the helicopters within three minutes of each other. The downed aircrafts were Ka-52 Alligators, considered to be Russia’s most deadly and effective attack helicopter, according to Ukraine’s air force. The reported victory comes as Russia has increased its air attacks and Ukraine presses forward with wresting control of its southern regions.
The air command said anti-aircraft gunners had shot down the first Russian Ka-52 Alligator helicopter at 6:45 p.m. and the second at 6:48 p.m. local time. The times could not be independently verified by Newsweek.
As winter approaches, Russia has launched waves of air strikes targeting Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure, leaving swaths of the country without electricity. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other officials have denounced the attacks as acts of “terrorism.”
During a national address on Monday, Zelensky said authorities were working to restore energy and water supplies to civilians affected by the strikes. He also reported that Ukrainian forces had defended themselves against Russian air strikes earlier in the day, shooting down 45 of 55 cruise missiles. A total of four Russian helicopters were downed, three attack Ka-52 Alligators and one Mi-8, according to the address.
“Today our air forces and everyone involved in protecting the skies did a great job,” said Zelensky. “Most of the objects that the terrorists identified as targets were saved.”
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry on Monday posted a video to Twitter of how to turn a Russian “Mi-8 into a flaming jack-o’-lantern.”
Monday marked the 250th day since the larger Russian military launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Ukrainian forces in late August launched a counteroffensive seeking to dislodge Russia from the Kherson administrative district in the south, which borders the Black Sea and the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula.
Reports emerged earlier this month that Russia was pulling troops back in the response to advancing Ukrainian forces. Kremlin-backed officials in the area have ordered evacuations of civilians and Russian forces are retrenching themselves on the east bank of the Dnieper River, in the Kherson administrative district.
Kirill Stremousov, a Kremlin-installed administrator in Kherson, told the state-run TASS news agency that Ukrainian forces had been repelled by Russian troops, who destroyed two tanks.
Newsweek reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.
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