An Ukrainian Army Guard Mil Mi-8 Hip tactical transport helicopter was shot down on Thursday morning 29 May 2014 by what Ukrainian officials say was a Russian-made shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile launched by pro-Russian separatists just outside the town of Slovyansk. Twelve service men perished as result, including the commanding officer of the Guard combat training, General Major Serhiy Kulchytsky.
According to a Army Guard statement the Mi-8 was delivering food to one of the Ukrainian army road blocks outside the town, where fighting between Ukrainian government forces and militants wanting East Ukraine becoming part of Russia have been going on for some time now. Of the twelve service men killed, six were part of the Army National Guard, the others from the Berkut special task force. One guard member on board is said to have been seriously injured, meaning the helicopter was likely shot down at low altitude.
The loss of the Mi-8 is the fifth helicopter the Ukraine armed forces loss during combat with pro-Russian extremists, the third by a MANPADS and the second Mi-8. Another Mi-8 was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade on the ground at Kramatorsk Airbase on 25 April this year. Two Mi-24 Hinds were downed by shoulder-launched SAMs near Slovyansk on 2 May, another by heavy-machine gun fire on 5 May.
© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger