The military has released live-action footage showing a large-scale airborne assault on an airfield near Kiev
Live-action footage from a Ukrainian airfield was released by the Russian Ministry of Defense on Saturday. The video, which incorporates footage from soldiers’ body cams, shows airborne troops reaching the facility by helicopters and disembarking, before they seize the area.
The video shows soldiers securing various buildings across the facility and an adjacent Ukrainian military installation. It also includes footage of Russian Ka-52 attack helicopters hitting ground targets near the airfield.
While the defense ministry did not specify where or when the footage was captured, it appears to show the assault on Antonov International Airport near the town of Hostomel to the north of Kiev, which occurred in the early days of the operation.
Unverified footage circulating online seemingly showed that the Russian military lost several helicopters during the attack. Despite repeated claims by top Ukrainian officials that the Russian airborne troops had been completely destroyed during the landing or shortly after it, in reality they managed to hold out and were ultimately reached by ground forces.
Fighting at the airport resulted in the destruction of the world’s largest aircraft, the Antonov An-225 Mriya, which was stationed at the airfield. Developed in the late 1980s, the Soviet-built aircraft was inherited by Ukraine and used for large-scale cargo deliveries. It still remains unclear whether the plane was destroyed during the initial assault on the airfield or during Kiev’s attempts to dislodge Russian airborne troops from the facility.
Moscow launched a large-scale assault against its neighbor in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state and end years-long conflict in the country’s east.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.