Ukraine says 6 personnel killed in incident involving two helicopters

Six servicemen killed onboard two Mi-8 helicopters while on a mission in Russian-held territory near Bakhmut: Reports.

Members of the National Guard of Ukraine jump out a MI-8 helicopter during military tactical exercises at a training base near Kiev, Ukraine, July 22, 2015. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Ukrainian National Guard members jump from a hovering Mi-8 helicopter during military tactical exercises at a training base near Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2015 [File: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters]

Six members of the Ukrainian armed forces have been killed in an incident involving two helicopters while they were on a mission in eastern Ukraine, the military said.

The six Ukrainian servicemen were killed while “carrying out missions” in a Russian-held sector of the country near the eastern city of Bakhmut, the Ukrainian military said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app on Wednesday.

No details were given as to what occurred in the deadly incident which involved two of the Ukrainian military’s widely-used Mi-8 helicopters on Tuesday.

Local news site Ukrainska Pravda said the deaths occurred near Kramatorsk – a large town west of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, which has seen much fighting since the Russian invasion last year.

Ukrainska Pravda reported that the two helicopters were “completely destroyed” and the bodies of the six were found in the wreckage at the site where they had crashed.

The Kyiv Independent said that Ukrainska Pravda reported that the incident occurred “under unknown circumstances”.

The cause of the double helicopter crash is being investigated, but there was no mention of it being shot down by either the military or news reports.

A Ukrainian air force spokesperson identified as Yevhen Rakita told Ukraine’s public broadcaster Suspilne that the men on board the two helicopters were officers and their identities were not being made public for security reasons.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies