Russian military helicopters have been shot down by mercenaries from the private military company Wagner.
On Telegram, Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed that helicopters had “opened fire on a civilian convoy.” He gave no further details on the alleged attack from the choppers.
Videos on social media show Russian forces and Wagner troops reportedly clashing in the Rostov area. The local regional governor has issued a plea to families in the area to remain indoors.
The statements of the leader of the mercenary, Prigozhin, were confirmed by Russian Kremlin-connected telegram channels.
According to Fighterbomber, the Wagnerites shot down two Mi-8MTPR electronic warfare helicopters. The helicopters were flying in pairs. The crews managed to survive the downing.
Russian propagandist Ilya Tumanov also confirmed on his influential Fighterbomber channel the crash of the Mi-35 Hind attack helicopter.
Утверждается, что это сбитый наемниками “вагнеровцами” вертолет ВКС РФ в Воронежской области. Пригожин утверждает, что его наемники сбили уже три вертолета, пытавшихся атаковать их колонны. pic.twitter.com/FFinIM7p9L
— Харьков даст пи@ды рашистам! (@kharkiv_warnews) June 24, 2023
Бойцы Вагнеровской Народной Республики сбили вертолет ВС Воронежской Народной Республики pic.twitter.com/YRcpEAd7hL
— Team of Zina Portnova (@Zn_Portnova) June 24, 2023
Russia’s Federal Security Services (FSB) opened a criminal investigation Friday against mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, accusing him of armed mutiny, citing the National Anti-Terrorism Committee.
The crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, according to Russia’s chief prosecutor.