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Video shows Russian Mi-8 helicopter engulfed in inferno

Ukrainian forces downed a Russian Mi-8 helicopter on Sunday, new footage from the Ukrainian military shows, as Russian advances on the Kyiv-held frontline town of Avdiivka appear to be slowing down.

The Russian Mi-8 was shot down by Ukraine’s 25th Separate Airborne Brigade, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, who heads Ukraine’s ground forces, said in a post to Telegram on Sunday.

In a clip shared by Syrskyi, a burning but indistinct vehicle can be seen, with dark smoke billowing out of shot. Newsweek cannot independently verify the details of the footage, including when and where it was filmed. The Russian Defense Ministry has been contacted for comment via email.

Russia has lost at least 22 Mi-8 helicopters since it invaded Ukraine in February 2022, according to Dutch open-source intelligence outlet, Oryx. However, this count is no longer updated as of late September, and only includes visually-verified losses, meaning the true tally is likely higher.

In updated statistics on Monday, Ukraine’s General Staff recorded the loss of one Russian aircraft and one helicopter over the past day, specifying in a statement that Russia had lost an Mi-8 helicopter.

In total, Moscow’s forces have lost 318 aircraft and 317 helicopters in the many months since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, according to Ukraine’s military. Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that Ukraine has lost 488 aircraft and 250 helicopters. Neither count can be independently verified.

Ukraine’s military said on Monday that throughout the previous day, there were around 70 combat clashes along the current front lines in eastern and southern Ukraine. Russia carried out “unsuccessful assault operations” around the Donetsk coking town of Avdiivka, the General Staff said, after days of what has been described as a major Russian offensive effort on the key settlement.

Ukrainian forces defended against more than 15 Russian attacks on Avdiivka, the military said. Sunday also saw a host of assaults by Moscow’s troops on a range of other villages and towns along the front line, including the Ukrainian-controlled Donetsk villages of Klishchiivka and Andriivka, and “four” attempts to retake the Zaporizhzhia village of Robotyne.

Russian forces pushed on with offensive operations “aimed at encircling Avdiivka” on Sunday, the U.S. think tank, the Institute for the Study of War, said in its latest update. However, Moscow is “yet to make further gains amid a likely decreasing tempo of Russian operations in the area,” the think tank said.

Russia did not mention Avdiivka in its daily update on Sunday, but said that its forces had “repelled five attacks” from Ukrainian mechanized and territorial defense units around several villages close the decimated Donetsk city of Bakhmut.

Russian troops targeted troops and equipment belonging to several Ukrainian brigades around Andriivka and Klishchiivka on Sunday, Moscow’s defense ministry said in a statement.

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