Two crew members died and the pilot and his family, who had previously been extracted from Russia, are in Ukraine.
Ukraine has recently emerged with a tactical feat, hijacking a Russian Mi-8, recalling historic intelligence operations.
Confiscation of the Russian Mi-8: Operational details
According to Ukrainian sources, a Russian Mi-8 AMTSh helicopter, an armored version of the Mi-8AMT intended for troop and cargo transport, was lured into land on Ukrainian territory, specifically at the Poltava military airbase in Kharkiv.
Major General Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR), confirmed the event, stating that the pilot tried to “flee” once he understood the context of his landing. This helicopter, equipped with advanced ground attack capabilities, has been transferred to Kyiv.
This operation has been compared to the famous Israeli Mossad Operation Diamond of the 1960s. It was also revealed that this strategic mission took more than six months in planning.
Implications at the level of intelligence and military tactics
The Mi-8 hijacking not only highlights Ukraine’s operational capability, but also the fragility of Russian communications and operations. Artem Shevchenko, a prominent Ukrainian journalist, highlights the tactical similarity between the current operation and past Mossad exploits.
Andriy Yusov, a GUR spokesman, reiterated the precision and meticulousness of the operation, stressing that “the planes moved according to plan.”
Russian Losses: Aerospace and Ground Context
Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the loss of at least 103 Russian helicopters has been documented. Of the total, 89 were destroyed, 12 damaged and two captured, according to the Dutch outlet Oryx.
For its part, the General Staff of Ukraine maintains that Russia has lost a total of 316 helicopters since the beginning of the conflict. However, these figures are disputed by independent sources, and the Russian government has not provided official data in this regard.
This war context underscores the importance of each aircraft in the theater of operations and the psychological and tactical impact of such losses.
Ukrainian response to Russian aggression
The hijacking of the Mi-8 is not an isolated incident. Ukraine has been developing a counteroffensive to recover territories lost to Russian aggression.
Oleksiy Danilov, head of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, recently communicated the challenges of this counteroffensive. Despite the adversities, Ukraine continues to make progress in its goal of recovering all its territories.