By Ateet Sharma
New Delhi, April 16: Russia said on Friday that it has shot down a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter using its state-of-the-art S-400 anti-aircraft missile system.
The Soviet-era designed utility transport helicopter was brought down in northeastern Ukraine, not very far from the border with Russia and Belarus.
The Russian Defence Ministry claimed that the same Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter was used by Kyiv in an attack on Russian villagers in a cross-border attack on Thursday.
“Russian air defence systems in the area of the village of Gorodnya, Chernihiv region, while returning to the airbase, the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system shot down a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter, which on April 14 attacked residents of the peaceful village of Klimovo in the Bryansk region,” said Major General Igor Konashenkov, a representative of the Russian Ministry of Defence, during his daily briefing today.
Konashenkov said that besides a Su-27 fighter jet of the Ukrainian Air Force which was shot down in the Kharkiv region, as many as eight Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were also brought down by the Russian forces during the past 24 hours.
With Kalibr sea-based high-precision long-range missiles hitting a military facility on the outskirts of Kyiv on Thursday night, Russia said that the number and scale of missile strikes against targets in Kyiv will only increase in the coming days.
The Russian troops, said Konashenkov, have also completely liberated the Ilyich Iron and Steel Works from “Ukrainian nationalists” in the city of Mariupol.
S-400 – the India connection
Russia’s S-400 is a new generation long-range anti-aircraft missile system which is designed to destroy all modern and promising means of aerospace attack, in particular aircraft of various types, tactical, operational-tactical ballistic missiles, hypersonic targets, and jammers.
Having the capability to hit targets at a range of up to 400km, the S-400 Triumph Air Defence Missile Systems will also significantly enhance the air defence capability of India which had signed an agreement with Russia in 2016 for its supply.
In spite of Washington’s reservations and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the S-400 missile system’s delivery to India remains as per the contractual timelines with New Delhi receiving another consignment from Moscow recently.
“We continue to urge all countries to avoid major new transactions for Russian weapons systems, particularly in light of what Russia is doing to Ukraine. We have not yet made a determination regarding potential sanctions or potential waivers under the CAATSA law,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said after the fourth US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, earlier this week.
India has, however, made it clear that it is aware of all developments that may impact procurement of defence equipment.
“Government takes sovereign decisions based on threat perception, operational and technological aspects to keep the Armed Forces in a state of readiness to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges,” Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt had said in a written reply in Lok Sabha on December 3, last year.
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