Video footage shared online this week shows just how far the Ukrainian military will go to repair aircraft destroyed in the sky or in battle. A clip, shared on multiple social media outlets including Twitter, shows a destroyed and hollowed-out Mi-8TV helicopter fuselage being transported by a truck on a highway in Ukraine.
The damaged fuselage looks beyond repair, but is safely strapped to the vehicle and was reportedly being taken to a facility where it may be used for spare parts or rebuilt into a functioning helicopter.
“A recent video of a rare Ukrainian Mi-8TV armed helicopter fuselage being transported by a truck,” Ukraine Weapons Tracker writes.
“Apparently Ukrainian (or even EU) facilities are currently working on restoring flighting capabilities of the Air Force, using old aircraft even in rather poor condition.”
While the video has not been seen before, a keen war observer noted that the footage appears to have been recorded in May.
Footage shared online in May showed the fuselage on the ground, with a timestamp that reads 11/3/2022.
Pentagon Confirms Aircraft Restoration Efforts
It should come as no surprise that Ukraine is restoring old equipment. In April, the United States Department of Defense revealed how the Ukrainian military had increased its supply of aircraft after repairing them with spare parts.
The Pentagon described how Ukraine had defied the expectations of its allies by not only keeping its air force operational but by adding to its inventory by repairing broken and disused aircraft.
#Ukraine: A recent video of a rare Ukrainian Mi-8TV armed helicopter fuselage being transported by a truck.
Apparently Ukrainian (or even EU) facilities are currently working on restoring flighting capabilities of the Air Force, using old aircraft even in rather poor condition. pic.twitter.com/ioHKVdfgax
— ?? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) July 12, 2022
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby noted that Ukraine had been given new aircraft as well as spare parts, but also clarified that no fixed-wing aircraft – like fighter jets – had been given to Ukraine as part of U.S. military aid packages.
“They have received additional aircraft and aircraft parts to help them get more aircraft in the air,” Kirby said, refusing to provide details on which countries had provided aircraft to Ukraine so far.
“The body of a shattered Ukrainian military helicopter is transported on May 21, 2022 in Kharkiv, Ukraine”
Mi-8, right? I lean towards this being a Ukrainian helicopter, but getty images captions are often wrong. There is one known Russian loss which could potentially match this pic.twitter.com/ZDJ52Pieah
— JD (@Haruspexut) May 21, 2022
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States has remained hesitant to provide aircraft to Ukraine over concerns that the Kremlin may consider the move an escalation.
“The Ukrainians have received — through United States’ coordination and provision — enough spare parts and additional equipment such that they have been able to put in operation more fixed-wing aircraft in their fleet than they had even two to three weeks ago,” Kirby also said at the time.
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.