Russia has lost yet another military helicopter to friendly fire as a $7 million chopper was shot down over the sea.
The Russian defense ministry is yet to acknowledge the attack, as a picture of the three dead crew members emerged online.
Pro-war propagandists expressed horror and exasperation with the latest friendly fire killings of Russians downing their own forces and launching fundraising for their families.
Previously Russian forces have shot down at least five of their own war planes, including a suspected Su-35 earlier this month.
This came one week after a Su-35 was seen falling out of the sky over Tokmak, and in July a Ka-52 helicopter was reportedly blown out of the sky by friendly fire too.
War blogger Kirill Fyodorov posted a picture of the helicopter crew from the latest incident with the words: ‘These men have perished. ‘The entire Mi-8 crew was killed by our air defense after they hit their own side, and fell into the sea.’
It was ‘an erroneous friendly launch.’ ‘They are survived by wives and children.
‘We cannot bring them back, but we can help by fundraising…as we have done it multiple times in the past. ‘So that they can pay a decent farewell to their fathers, husbands, and sons.’
Prominent Telegram channel Fighterbomber – with close links to military pilots – reported: ‘Lately [our crews] have to dodge their [own] missiles more and more often. ‘And there is no light at the end of the tunnel. ‘To the crew of the Mi-8MTV-5 – eternal flight.’
The channel mocked the way Russia honors those responsible for such incidents. ‘The dead crews are awarded the Order of Courage.
‘A little later, air defense crews are awarded the Order of Courage, and so on, in a circle. ‘As I understand it, this suits everyone except the [dead] pilots.’ The Мi-8МТV-5 is an upgraded model of Russia’s Mi-8 model, costing $7 million.
The sea location of the latest downing was not disclosed. Separately, it was confirmed that Ukraine destroyed Ka-52, Mi-28, and Mi-8 helicopters in a devastating 17 October strike on airfields in Berdiansk and Luhansk, said Oryx, which tracks war losses.
Another 21 helicopters were damaged on what has been called Putin’s blackest day of the war.
The strikes were the first use by Ukraine of US-supplied ATACMS long-range missiles. It amounted to the greatest single loss for Russian aviation since the Second World War.
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