Former Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin shared a video on December 11 showing a Russian Ka-52 helicopter flying past a team of Russian soldiers and officials.
The short clip was used primarily as propaganda, showing Russian forces deploying new equipment to Ukraine, though it comes only a week after reports that the same kind of helicopter was shot down while being flown by an elite military unit.
The video was originally shared on the personal Telegram account of Rogozin, and in the post, the former deputy prime minister expressed support and thanks for Russian pilots.
“Meeting of best friends – tsarist wolves and Russian alligators,” the post reads. “We respect and are proud of our heroes – pilots of army aviation. We are constantly counting on their support from the air. Thank you guys!”
“Alligator” is a name commonly used to describe the Ka-52 attack helicopter.
In other footage of Ka-52 helicopters shared by Russia in November, the aircraft can be seen performing military strikes in Ukraine. Russia describes the helicopters as being among the best in the world, and a statement published by the Russian Ministry of defense alongside the video describes how the crew of Ka-52 and mi-24 were carrying out “covert approaches to targets at extremely low altitudes.”
“Helicopter pilots launch aircraft missiles from a pitch-up to increase the range of destruction,” the statement continued.
Russia is sending a clear message that it has the manpower, the firepower, and the aircraft required to continue its military offensive in Ukraine – but Western think tanks and analysts don’t believe the Kremlin.
A recent report by the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank from London, England, reveals that the accuracy of strikes performed by the helicopters while flying at low altitudes is generally quite low. The report also reveals how many Ka-52 helicopters have been recovered after being shot down by Ukrainian forces while also in poor overall condition – suggesting that Russia is still struggling to properly maintain its weapons and aircraft in Ukraine.
“Multiple Ka-52 airframes have also been recovered after being shot down in a condition that suggests poor maintenance and crew training are problems,” the report reads.
Earlier this month, video of a Ka-52 helicopter went viral after the aircraft was shot down in the Luhansk region. Ukrainian military officials confirmed on December 4 that the aircraft was downed in Luhansk.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.