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Russian MoD: Ukrainian Mi-8 Heading to Mariupol to Evacuate Azov Battalion Leaders Shot Down

© Sputnik / Stringer / Go to the mediabankUkrainian Mi-8 helicopter
Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.03.2022
Earlier, Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) authorities reported advancing into the city, currently controlled by Kiev's forces, after seizing control of its suburbs, including the airport.
Russian air defences have shot down a Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter as it was flying to pick up leaders of the Azov nationalist battalion from Mariupol, the Russian Defence Ministry has stated. The aircraft was hit as it was flying over the Sea of Azov, five kilometres from shore.
"[The downed Mi-8] was heading towards Mariupol for emergency evacuation of the Azov battalion’s leaders, who had abandoned their troops", Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov stated.
The ministry's spokesman also said that on 28 March, the Russian Air Force and air defences downed two Ukrainian Su-24 (NATO reporting name: Fencer) and one Su-25 (NATO reporting name: Frogfoot) jets, as well as one unspecified drone.
Forces of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) have, with help from Russian troops, managed to surround the city of Mariupol, seizing its suburbs, including the airport, and started to clear the city of the remaining Azov nationalist battalion fighters, the republic's authorities said.
The Russian Armed Forces are helping the DPR as a part of the special military operation launched by President Vladimir Putin on 24 February. It was started in response to a request from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR), which had been suffering from shelling by Ukraine’s Armed Forces and nationalist battalions.
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