Helicopters Shot Down as Russian Troops Seize Kyiv Airport

February 24, 2022Matt White
helicopter shot down

An air assault force of Russian troops on Mi-17 transport helicopters seized an airfield near Kyiv on Feb. 24, 2022. Videos appeared to show at least one attack helicopter being shot down with its pilot parachuting behind it. Image from Wikicommons, screengrab from Twitter.

In the opening combat of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a Russian air assault force appears to have seized an airport on the outskirts of Kyiv, overcoming fierce resistance from Ukrainian forces, who may have downed some of the assault force’s helicopters.

While several major airports around Ukraine have reported shelling, a CNN reporter found Russian troops inside Hostomel Airport Thursday morning, Feb. 24. Hostomel is a small cargo field to the northwest of Kyiv that is also known as Antonov Airport, for the Antonov aircraft company based there.

A wide range of social media videos appeared to capture the attack in real time, with Russian Ka-52 and Ka-50 attack helicopters and Mi-17 troop transports seen swarming over Ukrainian heads. Several pass over identifiable landmarks in Kyiv.

One video emerged of what appears to be the crash of a Ka-52 or Ka-50 in a body of water said to be Vyshhorod, an estuary area just north of Kyiv, and about 10 miles from the Hostomel Airport. The video catches debris impacting into a wide body of water as a large hulk burns, and a parachutist descends behind it under an ejection-style parachute.

The simple, non-steerable parachute that lands near the crash appears to have survival equipment hung below it but no obvious weapons or combat gear, indicative of an ejection. The Russian Ka-52 and 50 models are both equipped with ejection seats, a rarity among helicopters. In the event of an ejection, the rotors above the pilot are blown off with explosive charges to clear a path.

Another video shows a large flight of what look like Mi-17s (or the similar Mi-8s) taking direct ground fire and deploying flares. The Mi-17 — the design of which dates to the 1970s — can carry about two dozen troops, roughly on par with the United States’ CV-22 Osprey.


Russian helicopters trying to fend off missles using flares (countermeasures) #ukrain #fyp

♬ original sound – M A T T


The Mi-17s appear to be passing over the curved breakwater of the Kyiv Hydroelectric Power Plant, flying east. That path is on a direct line with Hostomel Airport.

kyiv airport Russian
A video of Russian Mi-17 helicopters flying over a breakwater north of Kyiv indicates they are headed toward Hostomel Airport, which was seized by Russian troops in the early hours of the Feb. 24, 2022, invasion. Map from Google. Illustration by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Another widely shared video appears to show the remains of another Ka-52 after a forced landing with extensive battle damage and spent rocket tubes. The helicopter appears to be carrying laser-guided Vikhr air-to-ground missiles. An attached note claiming to have captured the pilot could not be confirmed.

Video of a CNN reporter encountering Russian soldiers at Hostomel Airport:


Read Next: ‘Putin Chose This War’ — Biden Unveils Sanctions Against Russia

Matt White
Matt White

Matt White is a former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.

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