Six Ukrainian military personnel lost their lives as two military helicopters crashed during a combat operation in the eastern region of Donetsk, as stated by state investigators on Thursday.
The crashes occurred on Tuesday in the Kramatorsk district within the Donetsk region’s eastern area. The State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) refrained from providing specific details regarding the events leading to the crashes.
The SBI issued a statement reporting, “During a combat mission, two Mi-8 military helicopters experienced crashes. Regrettably, six members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces perished in the tragic event.”
The statement revealed that the Security Intelligence Service has initiated a preliminary inquiry, focusing on potential breaches of safety protocols during the flight or its preparatory stages, which could potentially qualify as criminal offenses.
Additionally, the investigation will explore the possibility of “sabotage or intentional destruction of the helicopters by adversaries,” the SBI added.
The examination will involve analyzing data retrieved from flight recorders and assessing the helicopters’ technical condition.
Although the Mi-8 military helicopters are primarily utilized for transport purposes, Ukraine employs them in combat operations. Each helicopter is manned by a crew of three.
Despite many of Ukraine’s Mi-8 helicopters being decades old, the country has benefited from the contribution of more contemporary attack helicopters from its allies.