Russian helicopter explodes into fireball in remarkable footage from Ukraine

Ukraine: Video appears to show Russian helicopter blown up

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The military helicopter is seen flying low to the ground over some fields in Ukraine when it is struck by Ukrainian artillery. The Russian aircraft explodes into a fireball upon strike before plummeting to the ground. A large trial of black smoke billows behind the helicopter. As it spirals into the ground, it explodes upon impact, shattering into several pieces.  

As the conflict in Ukraine surpasses the 100-day mark, the nation’s President Volodmyr Zelensky made further claims today that Russian forces have killed civilians. 

He said Russian artillery hit an early 17th century Ukrainian Orthodox monastery in war-torn eastern Ukraine on Saturday, engulfing a church in flames.

Russia’s Defence Ministry denied involvement and accused Ukrainian troops of setting fire to the All Saints church before pulling back.

The Svyatohirsk Lavra monastery complex belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and lies near Russian positions in eastern Donetsk, one of two regions that the Kremlin is focused on capturing.

Flames could be seen ripping through the timber walls of a church with onion domes in footage posted by Mr Zelensky on his official Telegram channel. 

He wrote: “Russian artillery struck the Svyatohirsk Lavra in the Donetsk region again today. Destroyed All Saints Monastery. It was consecrated in 1912. 

“It was first destroyed during the Soviet era. Later it was rebuilt to be burned by the Russian army.” 

He called for Russia to be expelled from the United Nations’ cultural agency UNESCO and said there had been no military targets present at the site.

He added: “Every church burned by Russia in Ukraine, every school blown up, every destroyed memorial proves that Russia has no place in UNESCO.”

Two monks and a nun were killed at the site in shelling on June 1. Russia denies targeting civilians. 

The Svyatohirsk Lavra monastic settlement dates back to 1627. The All Saints church was built from timber in 2009 to replace the one destroyed in 1947.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which remained loyal to Moscow after a 2019 schism, said last month that it would break with Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine.

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Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has played down the significance of new US weapons supplies to UKraine. 

He said Russia was easily coping and was already destroying American-supplied weapons by the dozen, state-run news agency RIA reported on Saturday.

Putin made the remarks in an interview with national television, RIA said. It is due to be shown on Sunday.

The US have promised four long-range M142 HIMARs to Ukraine, which are advanced weapons systems capable of hitting targets up to 45 miles away. 

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