Kommersant is a respected independent daily that focuses on business. It reported, via its website, that the Su-34 bomber-fighter, Su-35 fighter, and two Mi-8 helicopters were all part of a raiding group and “shot down nearly simultaneously” during an ambush near the northeast Ukraine region of Bryansk.
According to preliminary data, the fighters were to launch a missile attack and bomb attacks on targets in Chernihiv Region of Ukraine. The helicopters were to support them – and to rescue the “Su” crews should they be shot down.
The Russian state-run news agency TASS reported that a Russian Su-34 had crashed in the region, but did not give a reason for it.
TASS also cited a emergency services official who said that an engine fire caused a helicopter to crash near Klintsy which is approximately 40 km (25miles) from the border.
The Su-35 or a second helicopter were not mentioned.
A video on the Russian war Telegram channel Voyenniy Osvedomitel (which has around half a million subscribers) showed a helicopter in the air being hit by an explosion. It was then thrown off its course, and then slid down to the ground, in flames.
The video was accompanied by comments that said the Mi-8 had been shot down with a missile. The channel also posted images of wreckage on an agricultural field.
The report by Kommersant that four aircraft were downed was not supported with any evidence, but this assertion has been made also by several highly followed military bloggers who are pro-war.
The Moscow Defence Ministry didn’t immediately respond to our request for comment.
Voyenniy osvedomitel stated that it seemed “most likely” the enemy had staged an ambush, with air defences transferred from a border area close enough to our group.
The downed helicopters were said to be Mi-8MTPR-1 electronic war craft capable of jamming enemy radio and target signals.
Kommersant reported that all four crew members had been killed.
Ukraine has not responded to the reports. It usually does not comment on such attacks.
In a tweet however, Mykhailo Podolyak – a senior advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy – called the incident, “Justice…and instant karma”.
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