The devastating attack on an apartment building in Dnipro, leaving 35 people dead, marks yet another set of brutal civilian casualties in Ukraine as Russia continues its campaign of airstrikes.
Vladimir Putin’s forces are said to have struck one region 44 times the past weekend, including a kindergarten, with Russia and units led by Wagner Group mercenaries making gains in the east of the country.
News then that the U.K. government was to send a squadron of high-powered attack helicopters to support Kyiv’s forces suggested that help would soon be on the way.
One tweet by Ukraine Battle Map, which was read more than 2.5 million times, claimed that “UK 🇬🇧 will send 4 Apache AH-64E Attack Helicopters to Ukraine 🇺🇦 that will be armed with Hellfire Missiles reports British Media
“The AH-64E is the most modern version of the Apache Helicopter.”
Since Russia’s invasion last year, western allies have delivered a tranche of attack helicopters to Ukraine. The U.S. alone has provided 20 Mi-17s among thousands of other equipment.
The U.S. also settled a deal in September 2022 with the Polish government to supply it with 100 American-made Apaches, increasing NATO’s combat power along the eastern frontier with Russia.
Air support and anti-aircraft armaments have been key in the fight against Russia, punctuating the conflict with deadly airstrikes across the country and along the front line.
A delivery of Apaches, the most modern models of which outpace Russian attack helicopters, might well have strengthened Ukraine’s control of the skies.
The story appeared on a number of British news sites, including the Daily Mirror and the Daily Star, and was picked up by Russian state media too.
The latter claimed that a “senior defence source” speaking to the Sunday People (a Sunday newspaper owned by the same media group as the Daily Mirror) had said the Apache “will be a major game-changer.”
“The tanks will arrive first and it will take a while before helicopters can be deployed. Other Nato members will now follow suit.
“Russia has thousands of tanks, so it will take more than four Apaches to have a strategic impact. But tactically, it is a major step.”
However, the helicopters have not been handed over to Kyiv’s forces. While the British Ministry of Defence has not published a statement, a spokesman told Newsweek that no Apaches were being sent to Ukraine.
The Daily Mirror and Sunday People articles have since been removed from their websites; the deletion was picked up by (among others) right-leaning U.S. commentator Jack Posobiec who wrote: “BREAKING: British newspaper The Mirror reported a huge exclusive that the UK was sending Apaches armed with Hellfires to Ukraine but then immediately deleted it and the UK denied the report.”
While the U.K. has not provided an explanation as to why or where the rumor may have come from, it has not been secretive about its planned contributions to Ukraine.
On January 14, 2022, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, following a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, announced the U.K. would be sending Challenger 2 tanks and additional artilery systems to Kyiv. Had the government decided to send Apaches, it’s likely that it would have been mentioned among these announcements.
The U.K. is the second largest military donor to Ukraine; Sunak has said his government plans this year to meet or exceed the £2.3 billion spending commitment it made towards Kyiv in 2022.
This contribution, however, is dwarfed by the U.S. which, according to the Department of State, has invested “approximately $24.3 billion since Russia’s launched its premeditated, unprovoked, and brutal war against Ukraine on February 24.”
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