Russian Aircrew Reportedly Defects to Ukraine With Mi-8

According to both Ukrainian and Russian sources, a Russian Army Tactical Aviation Mi-8 helicopter is now in the hands of the Ukrainian military. The first publication to report on this incident was Censor who quoted several Russian and Ukrainian military bloggers on the incident that happened about two weeks ago. They said:

“This story promises to become legendary. The Russian Mi-8 combat helicopter with the entire crew flew to Ukraine and surrendered to the Armed Forces. This was reported by a Russian propaganda channel. The Russians report that the reason for the flight was navigational errors, but without a doubt, this is another Russian lie. After all, if the helicopter flew to the Poltava airport, as reported by a Russian blogger, then it is located approximately 300 km from the front line, and the Russians could only land there knowingly, as a result of a well-prepared flight,”

According to Russian military bloggers, the helicopter was forced down after receiving direct fire near the Poltava airfield. The Ukrainian Armed Forces confirmed they have the Mi-8 and are examining its equipment before folding it into the air forces.

The Mil Mi-8 is a medium twin-turbine helicopter, originally designed by the Soviet Union in the 1960s and introduced into the Soviet Air Force in 1968. It is now produced by Russia with several export variants. In addition to its most common role as a transport helicopter, the Mi-8 is also used as an airborne command post, armed gunship, and reconnaissance platform. (Wiki) While this TMS has been exploited by the U.S. government already, any novel sensor or EW suites on this combat-ready aircraft would be of extreme value to the West.

This would be the first defection of Russian pilots since the beginning of the war if it is confirmed they willingly surrendered.

United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.


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