Two Ukrainian military helicopters crashed in Donetsk Oblast Tuesday, killing all six on board and sparking a criminal investigation, Ukrainian media reported Wednesday.
Mi-8 Hip combat transport helicopters “crashed in Kramatorsk” in Donetsk Oblast, Ukrainian Pravda reported Wednesday. “The aircraft were completely destroyed.”
The publication reported that, according to its sources, “the bodies of six dead servicemen were found at the scene.”
The helicopters were from the 18th Separate Brigade of the Army Aviation, the Ukrainian Suspline media outlet reported, citing brigade spokesman Eugene Rakita. The crash took place in a combat mission near Bakhmut, he added.
The names and circumstances of death are not being disclosed for security purposes, Rakita told Suspline.
The State Bureau of Investigation has opened a criminal investigation into the crash, Ukrainian Pravda reported. They are looking into whether there was a “violation of flight rules or preparation for them,” which is a crime punishable by imprisonment of between five and 15 years.
Ukraine has lost at least 43 helicopters since the start of the all-out war, according to the Oryx open-source tracking group. That includes 23 Mi-8s, 22 of which were destroyed and one damaged. The toll could be significantly higher because Oryx only tablulates those aircraft for which it has visual confirmation.
The crash comes less than a week after a pair of L-39s collided during a mission, killing three pilots, including Major Andrii "Juice" Pilshchykov, an outspoken MiG-29 pilot who did multiple interviews with The War Zone.
This is a developing story and we will update it when new information becomes available.
Contact the author: email@example.com