Three photographs showed the main body of the craft separated from the tail, with internals pouring out of the damaged shell. On the ground, a deceased soldier can be seen inside of a zipped-up body bag.
Military expert and Foreign Policy Research Institute senior fellow Rob Lee shared the footage on Twitter, noting that the craft looked like a Russian Mi-35M helicopter.
“Ukraine previously pulled another helicopter out of the Kyiv reservoir,” Lee said. “If this was also lost on Feb 24, then I believe Russia had 6 helicopters or more shot down or forced to land on the first day.”
Lee may have been referring to a helicopter pulled out of the water by Ukrainian troops in early May. The photographs, which were also shared online, showed the helicopter being pulled out of the water by a Ukrainian boat.
Video footage of the first wreckage was also shared on Facebook (see below), revealing how the helicopter – torn to pieces by Ukrainian artillery – had been pulled out of the water by a crane.
How Many Helicopters Has Russia Lost?
“Russia has not lost so many aircraft in any war in decades,” Zelenskyy said during a nightly address in mid-May.
The exact number of aircraft lost, however, is unknown.
In mid-April, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that Russia lost a total of 137 helicopters in the first 45 days of the war.
How Is Ukraine Taking Out Russian Helicopters?
Ukrainian soldiers have several weapons to choose from when it comes to taking down aircraft, including U.S.-supplied anti-aircraft weapons systems.
In April, Army General Mark Milley said that roughly 25,000 anti-aircraft weapons systems had been delivered to Ukraine by the United States and NATO countries, helping the country fight back as Russia intensified airstrikes against eastern Donbas.
Russia knows that these anti-aircraft weapons are essential for Ukraine, too. In April, reports revealed how Ukraine lost at least 21 of its S-300 anti-aircraft missile launchers in the first seven weeks of the war.
With the conflict in the eastern Donbas region heating up, and U.S. President Joe Biden even warning that Ukraine could well be forced to cede territory to Russia as part of a peace deal, Russia may increasingly rely on its aircraft to deliver crushing strikes on Ukraine as part of the “carpet bombing” strategy confirmed by several recent reports.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.