Ukraine is figuring out how to destroy the Ka-52 helicopters and mobile artillery holding back its offensive, expert says

A Ukrainian tank fires toward Russian troops near the front line in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, July 6, 2023.

REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy

Ukraine is picking off Russia’s Ka-52 helicopters and self-propelled artillery, an expert said.
Nico Lange told The Economist that Ukraine’s counteroffensive is picking up pace.
The UK MOD called Ka-52s “one of the single most influential Russian weapon systems” in a key battlefront.

Ukraine is figuring out how to remove some major roadblocks in its counteroffensive, like Russia’s Ka-52 attack helicopters and self-propelled artillery, an expert told The Economist.

Nico Lange, a Ukraine expert at the Munich Security Conference, said Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which began in June, had started to make more progress in the last two weeks.

And he said that Ukraine was picking off Russian weapons like self-propelled howitzers and Ka-52s “piece by piece.”

The UK Ministry of Defence said in July that the Ka-52s, known as the “Alligator” by Russia and “Hokum-B” by NATO, were giving Russia a big boost in its invasion of Ukraine.

It called the Ka-52 “one of the single most influential Russian weapon systems” in the Zaporizhzhia region, which is one of the areas Ukraine is focusing its counteroffensive.

But Ukraine is striking back, with tracking group Oryx saying 40 Ka-52s are confirmed lost through visual verification.

And that number does not include two Ka-52 helicopters that Ukraine said it shot down on Thursday morning.

The Economist, in its article, suggested that Russia had about 100 Ka-52s at the start of the war, but may now have just 25 left.

The Kremlin calls the Ka-52s the “world’s best helicopter gunship,” Kyiv Post reported, and each one costs upwards of $16 million, Insider’s Rebecca Rommen reported.

Oryx also records 350 destroyed pieces of Russian self-propelled artillery, with 29 more damaged, seven abandoned, and 10 captured.

Ukraine started its long-anticipated counteroffensive in June, and while its military has made some progress in moving forward, it has not made any significant gains.

Ukrainian officials have pointed to the strong defenses that Russia has built, including dense minefields that the country’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said made Ukraine the most heavily mined country in the world.

Reznikov recently called on Ukraine’s allies to send more equipment that could clear mines to help troops move forward and stop them being maimed and killed.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he wanted his country’s counteroffensive to start earlier, but felt he had to wait for more weapons to arrive from allied countries. Experts previously told Insider that those delays allowed Russia to build its strong defenses.

But Lawrence Freedman, a war expert at the UK’s King’s College London, told The Economist that Ukraine is making progress.

“They’re doing stuff and they’re stretching the Russians,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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