One of the Mi-17V-5 military helicopters supplied by the US to Kiev forces have been spotted in Ukraine for the first time.
On June 26, Ukrainian sources shared a photo of the Russian-made helicopter with the Ukrainian flag and markings flying over an unspecified part of the country. The helicopter was armed with two B8V20 launchers, each can be loaded with up to 20 S-8 rockets.
Between March and June, the US committed to supply Ukraine with 19 Mi-17V-5 helicopters. The helicopters in question were originally purchased from Russia for the Afghan military. After the 2021 Taliban takeover, the US suspended the delivery of the helicopters t to Afghanistan.
The US hopes that the helicopters will help Kiev forces in the face of the Russian military, which has been conducting a special operation in Ukraine since late February.
In April, the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) issued a protest in response to the US move.
“Russian FSVTS expresses a protest in regards to any illegal transfer of armaments and military equipment of Russian origin, including helicopters, supplied by Rosoboronexport in a large contract with Pentagon, signed in 2011, to Ukraine,” the FSVTS said in a statement published on April 27.
The Mi-17V-5 is the export version of the Mi-8MTV-5. The military utility transport helicopter is powered by two Klimov turboshaft engines and equipped with a loading ramp instead of the clam-shell doors as well as an additional door and a new “dolphin nose”.
Kiev forces will likely use the US-supplied Mi-17V-5 helicopters to move troops and equipment from and to the frontlines. The helicopters, which are not equipped with warning or active protection systems, are highly vulnerable. They will not likely have any real impact on the battlefield.
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