The Ukrainian military said it destroyed three Russian helicopters within 30 minutes on the 11-month anniversary of the Russo-Ukrainian war.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that three Ka-52 helicopters, dubbed Russia’s “most advanced attack helicopter” in a 2020 Forbes article, have landed in the Donetsk region in less than 30 years minutes had been wiped out.
According to the Post, Ukrainian forces also destroyed a Russian Su-25 fighter jet near the contested town of Bahkmut.
“On the day of January 24, the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces shot down three Russian Ka-52 attack helicopters within 30 minutes,” the post reads. “The planes conducted missions near Yevhenivka (Volnovakha District, Donetsk Oblast). Ukrainian defenders also shot down 1x Russian Su-25 near Bakhmut.”
According to a. all destroyed by anti-aircraft missiles in the first half hour of January 24, the 11-month anniversary of the war tweet by the Ukrainian Air Force.
THREE KA-52 HELICOPTERS WERE DESTROYED WITHIN HALF AN HOUR
During a half-hour anti-aircraft battle from 00:00 to 00:30 on January 24, 2023, units of the Air Force’s anti-aircraft missile forces of the Armed Forces of 🇺🇦 destroyed three 🇷🇺 Ka-52 attack helicopters.
— Ukrainian Air Force (@KpsZSU) January 24, 2023
The Ka-52 helicopter, also known as the “Alligator”, is an all-weather attack helicopter designed to destroy armored and unarmored targets, including low-speed air targets and military personnel. It is also used as a surveillance platform and air command post for a group of attack helicopters.
Ukraine claims to have shot down at least 281 Russian helicopters since the war began. Many of the downed helicopters were Ka-52s.
Ukrainian soldiers walk through trenches on the front lines in the Donetsk region on January 23 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Inset: A Kamov Ka-52 “Alligator” military helicopter takes part in a military aviation competition in Russia’s Krasnodar Territory on March 28, 2019. The Ukrainian military says it destroyed three Russian helicopters on Tuesday. Anatoly Stepanov/AFP/Getty; Vitaly Timkiv/AFP/Getty
Karolina Hird, a Russia analyst at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), told Newsweek last October that Russia’s “high-risk” missions and provision of poor standards of aircraft maintenance could be contributing to the losses.
“Russian forces are likely conducting higher-risk air operations with less suppression of Ukrainian air defenses than would be desirable,” Hird said. “We cannot confirm the level of maintenance of Russian helicopters, although Russian maintenance was generally poor throughout the war.”
An ISW report Monday indicated that Russia could be preparing to sell some of its attack helicopters, including the Ka-52 and Mi-28, to Iran.
An alliance between the two countries, both under heavy US sanctions, has already resulted in Russia receiving a significant number of Iranian drones, many of which have since been destroyed by Ukrainian forces.
The Donetsk region has been a focal point of the war in Ukraine for several months. Intense fighting for control of Bakhmut has escalated into dogfights as Ukrainian ground forces stand firm despite a relentless onslaught of Russian attacks.
Ukraine said more than 20 settlements near Bahkmut were shelled by Russian tanks and artillery on Tuesday alone. The ground attack has resulted in heavy casualties for Russian troops and allied mercenaries working for the Wagner group in recent months.
A senior US defense official said Monday that Russian attempts to step up fighting on the ground have been largely ineffective, despite Moscow sending “tens of thousands” of reinforcements.
“An important aspect is that despite this increased number of replacements and reinforcements, there is no significant improvement in terms of the training of these forces,” the official said. “So again ill-equipped, ill-trained, rushed to the battlefield.”
Newsweek has reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.