Ukrainian saboteurs destroy helicopters in a ‘powerful’ explosion at Russian air base

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The attack happened 500 miles from the Ukrainian border, making it one of the farthest attacks on Russian territory since the war began. The saboteurs placed explosives onto Ka-52 helicopters, which are worth about £12million each. 

On Monday, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that two Russian Ka-52 helicopters were destroyed while two more were severely damaged.

The military intelligence department, however, did not claim responsibility for the attack, but Russian media has reported explosions at the Veretye airfield.

The Telegraph news service Baza, which has ties to Russian security services, quoted an anonymous Russian officer who said the explosion was “so powerful that the aircraft’s debris was scattered around 200 metres away”.

Baza reported that the Russian military had discovered a handmade explosive device attached to one helicopter, but has also reported that the helicopters are currently being repaired.

However, this may be the Russian media downplaying the attack, and British media cannot confirm if the helicopters were destroyed or just damaged.

Russian social media users have also mentioned an incident concerning helicopters in the region, and video footage posted online appears to depict the sabotage.

The video shows a man crouching in the daytime beside a helicopter with what appears to be a bomb which appears to have a VZD-6Ch mechanical fuze.

These fuzes operate on a delay of up to six hours, which would leave the saboteurs time to escape.

The Russian airbase that was infiltrated is 15 miles away from the Russian and Estonia border, however, it is 500 miles away from Ukraine, making it seem the sabotager has travelled a long distance.

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Ka-52 helicopters have been used by the Russian military for over a decade as one of Russia’s most advanced weaponry.

Nicknamed the Alligator, the attack helicopter is believed to have taken the manufacturer Kamov 14 years to supply roughly 100 of the helicopters to the Russian air force.

Russia’s production of military aircraft has been reported as having decreased due to the lack of high-tech components needed, and Russia has no access to them due to current trade sanctions.

It was believed that before the Ukraine invasion, Russia had 90 of the Ka-52 helicopters in use.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense, however, believe Russia has lost at least 23 of the helicopters in the last eight months of the war.

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