The Ukrainian Defense Ministry shared video on Saturday showing what is claimed to be Ukrainian forces using a man-portable air-defense system (MANPAD) to shoot down a Russian Mi-24 helicopter.
The video appears to have been taken by drone, which captures the missile from the MANPAD striking the helicopter, then panning to the right as the disabled helicopter dives toward the ground and culminates in a fiery explosion.
Another video shared by the ministry on Saturday shows what appears to be another Russian aircraft shot down by Ukrainian forces outside of Chernihiv.
The videos are among many pieces of footage coming out of Ukraine showing the effects of the lethal MANPAD, the highly portable, shoulder-mounted device that fires short-range missiles targets using infrared or other capabilities to pursue a locked-on target.
The Ukrainian military also posted a photo on Saturday showing the smoking remains of a Russian aircraft allegedly shot down by Ukrainian forces in the Mykolaiv region, which has been pounded by Russian artillery over the past several days. In a caption along with the photo, the military said it shot down four Russian helicopters.
Early Monday, Ukraine claimed to have shot down 46 Russian planes and 68 helicopters. Additionally, it claims to have destroyed 454 Russian vehicles, 290 tanks, 999 armored combat vehicles, three boats, and more than 11,000 troops.
Last Monday, the U.S. delivered 200 FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS to Ukraine, and Latvia and Lithuania were also expected to be sending Stinger MANPADs. Ukraine also utilizes Polish Piorun GROM Thunder MANPADS.
A senior U.S. defense official said on Friday, “Ukrainian air and missile defenses remain effective and in use. The Ukrainian military continues to fly aircraft and obviously to employ air defense assets as they — as they needed — need to do it.”
The official added that Russia has launched 500 missiles in Ukraine since it began its invasion less than two weeks ago, and has been shooting them at a rate of a few dozen per day.
A senior Western intelligence official told CNN last week that Russia is prepared to deploy as many as 1,000 more mercenaries into to Ukraine in the next days and weeks and may “bombard [Ukrainian] cities into submission.” A U.S. official also told CNN that the U.S. has seen “some indications” of Russia’s plan to deploy the mercenaries – many of which are believed to be already inside Ukraine.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg predicted on Friday that the battle in Ukraine would intensify and lead to more death.
“The days to come are likely to be worse, with more death, more suffering, and more destruction, as the Russian armed forces bring in heavier weaponry and continue their attacks across the country,” Stoltenberg said.