Russian mercenary telegram channels said they had shot down a fourth government helicopter.
Wagner Group mercenaries, seeking to overthrow Russia’s government, said they shot down a military helicopter that tried to prevent them from driving to Moscow.
Images on social media show a Russian helicopter crashed into a field in Voronezh region. The white “invasion Z” is marked on the helicopter’s tail boom.
Russian propagandist Ilya Tumanov also confirmed on his influential Fighterbomber channel the crash of the Mi-35 Hind attack helicopter and two Mi-8MTPR electronic warfare helicopters.
The Wagner Group describes itself as a “private military company”, but now the Russian government seems to be taking steps to rein it in.
The Wagner Group is elite Russian troops founded in 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and started providing support to pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. The mercenary organization, staffed by veterans of the Russian armed forces, has fought in Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic and Mali, among other countries.
Russian state-sponsored private military contractor linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin. Prigozhin is a Russian businessman indicted in the United States for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.