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Ukraine strikes back: Shoots down five Russian helicopters, destroy dozens of tanks in the first hours of invasion

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Ukrainian troops have shot down five Russian helicopters, destroyed dozens of tanks and captured at least 80 troops in the first hours since Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to invade this morning. 

Kiev’s military is far inferior to its Russian counterpart with an air defense system and air force date back to the Soviet era.

But NATO and the US, despite deploying soldiers to neighbouring Romania in recent months, have made it clear that no troops will be sent and left the Ukrainian military to hold off the assault alone. 

By Thursday afternoon, battles were ongoing in Kiev, along the northern border with Belarus, in Luhansk and Donetsk in the east and around Kherson, the Dneiper River, and the port cities of Odessa and Mariupol in the south. 

Few expect Ukraine to emerge victorious from what is almost certain to be a prolonged, bloody, and vicious war – but so far, Kiev’s forces have managed to inflict heavy losses on Putin’s troops. 

Here we take a look at what losses Ukrainian forces have inflicted on Russia:

At least 15 T-72 tanks were destroyed or damaged by the Ukrainian forces using the Javelin PTRK, an American anti-tank missile, nearly Glukhov in the country's east late this afternoon

At least 15 T-72 tanks were destroyed or damaged by the Ukrainian forces using the Javelin PTRK, an American anti-tank missile, nearly Glukhov in the country’s east late this afternoon
Ukrainian forces have claimed to have shot out of the air at least Russian KA-52 Alligator attack helicopters during a battle for Gostomel air base. A fourth helicopter (pictured) was forced to make an emergency landing at the field under heavy fire
Ukrainian forces have claimed to have shot out of the air at least Russian KA-52 Alligator attack helicopters during a battle for Gostomel airbase. A fourth helicopter (pictured) was forced to
make an emergency landing at the field under heavy fire
An image captured near Kiev shows what appears to be the wreckage of a downed Russian attack helicopter with a soldier parachuting out of it (to the left of the frame)

An image captured near Kiev shows what appears to be the wreckage of a downed Russian attack helicopter with a soldier parachuting out of it (to the left of the frame)

Helicopters

Ukrainian forces have claimed to have shot out of the air up to four Russian KA-52 Alligator attack helicopters  during a battle for Gostomel air base. A fifth helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing at the field under heavy fire.

Just after midday on Thursday, the skies over Kiev swarmed with a squadron of 20 Russian helicopters which pounded the air base’s runway.

But Ukrainian ground forces launched a fight-back, moving in to retake the air field as jets streaking over the city, shooting down the Russian helicopters.

The attack underlined just how close the invaders were not to the capital. Soon after, the distant roar of fighter jets high above the city stoked another wave of panic.

Ukrainian forces also claimed to have shot down six Russian jets sky over the eastern Donbass region while another plane appeared to fall from the skies near the capital.

A Russian helicopter is shot down somewhere over KievThe wreckage of what appears to be a jet falls from the skies near the capital

A Russian helicopter is shot down somewhere over Kiev (left), while the wreckage of what appears to be a jet falls from the
skies near the capital (right)

Tanks

Ukrainian forces have destroyed dozens of Russian tanks along the eastern and northern borders today.

Ukrainian forces put up a stiff resistance around Kharkiv where multiple Russian tanks and armoured vehicles were pictured destroyed – with bodies lying in the streets.

Later this morning another BMP fighting vehicle was captured, along with the crew of four Russian soldiers, in the same region in eastern Ukraine.

And around 2pm local time (12pm GMT) the Ukrainian military said troops had destroyed five armoured transport vehicles and a car during fighting at the Vistupovich-Rudnya border point between Ukraine and Belarus.

A further 15 T-72 tanks were destroyed or damaged by the Ukrainian forces using the Javelin PTRK, an American anti-tank missile, nearly Glukhov in the country’s east late this afternoon.

A BMP fighting vehicle was captured, along with four Russian soldiers, during fighting near Kharkiv, in the east of Ukraine, this morning

A BMP fighting vehicle was captured, along with four Russian soldiers, during fighting near Kharkiv, in the east of Ukraine, this morning

Troops

At least 80 Russian troops have been captured by Ukrainian forces, officials said today.

Two, believed to be Rafik Rakhmankulov, 19 and Mgomd Mgomdov, 26, from Kizilyurt, were captured along with a cache of weapons and knives during fighting outside Kharkiv, in the east of Ukraine.

A further four Russian soldiers, the crew of a BMP fighting vehicle, were captured by Ukrainian forces near Luhansk this morning. They were pictured lying face-down with their jackets pulled over their heads after being captured by Kiev’s troops.

A further 74 Russian troops were captured after they surrendered to Ukrainian soldiers, the Commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces said late on Thursday afternoon.

Estimates of dead and injured were almost non-existent as of early afternoon but one Ukrainian official put the Russian death toll at around 50.

Two Russian troops - believed to be Rafik Rakhmankulov, 19 (left) and Mgomd Mgomdov, 26, from Kizilyurt (right) - have been captured by Ukrainian forces in the country's east

Two Russian troops – believed to be Rafik Rakhmankulov, 19 (left) and Mgomd Mgomdov, 26, from Kizilyurt (right) – have been captured by Ukrainian forces in
the country’s east
Weapons and knives seized from two Russian soldiers captured by Ukrainian units fighting around Kharkiv

Weapons and knives seized from two Russian soldiers captured by Ukrainian units fighting around Kharkiv
The crew of a Russian BMP fighting vehicle are seen face-down with jackets pulled over their heads

The crew of a Russian BMP fighting vehicle are seen face-down with jackets pulled over their heads (left) after being captured by Ukrainian forces (their vehicle
is pictured, right)

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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