Thirty Russian Helicopters Destroyed in Surprise Attack, Ukraine Claims

Ukraine claimed its forces have destroyed 30 Russian helicopters in an attack on an airfield near the occupied southern city of Kherson.

"At night, Ukrainian soldiers shelled the Chornobaivka airfield near Kherson. The occupiers decided to partially deploy their fleet there. Thirty enemy helicopters were destroyed, as well as manpower and equipment," Ukraine's Marine Command said in a statement on Facebook, as translated by Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform.

Russia has not confirmed the attack or whether it lost helicopters or soldiers.

"The morning in Ukraine for Russian evil spirits does not start with coffee," the Marine Command post said, according to a Google translation.

Kherson, a key strategic point along the Black Sea, was captured by Russia last week, the first major Ukrainian city to fall to invading Russian forces.

The port city of Mariupol is under siege by Russian forces as Moscow's troops fan out across the south of the country.

Marine Command also described separate Ukrainian attacks on Russian forces near Mykolaiv, also in southern Ukraine.

Over the past day, on the approaches to Mykolaiv, three enemy convoys were destroyed, the statement said, with Ukrainian defenders seizing "trophies", a large quantity of ammunition, wheeled equipment, and seven D-20 howitzers.

"We thank all those who today stand guard over our homes in the Kherson, Mykolaiv and Odessa regions, protect our families, while part of the personnel restrains the Russian invasion on other borders of the state defense. Ukraine will definitely win. Glory to Ukraine," it continued.

Military analysts believe Russia has been surprised by the strong Ukrainian resistance to the invasion, now in its 12th day. Although the Russian military has massive superiority in firepower, a huge convoy advancing towards the capital Kyiv became bogged down, amid talk of logistical problems and low morale.

The Russian Defense Ministry said last week it had lost nearly 500 soldiers since invading Ukraine, while Ukraine puts Russian losses in the thousands.

The latest fighting comes after President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainians needed to go on the offensive against Russian invaders.

"Every meter of our Ukrainian land won by protest and humiliation of the invaders is a step forward, a step towards victory for our entire state," he said in a video posted to his official Instagram page.

"This is a chance to live, Ukrainians. In all our cities where the enemy entered, feel it. Go on the offensive. You have to fight."

He also warned of the consequences of Russia's invasion succeeding.

He said: "You need to go out and drive this evil out of our cities to prevent the creation of new DPR [Donetsk People's Republic] and LPR [Luhansk People's Republic] where normal life is simply impossible. Only slavery, only on the knees."

Other Ukrainian leaders have echoed the importance of resisting Russia's invasion.

Kyiv's mayor, Vitali Klitschko, explained what Ukraine needs to defeat Vladimir Putin when he spoke on ABC's This Week.

"We need unity, we need pressure, we need sanctions, we need weapon support.

"We are very thankful for [the] support, but we have to make much more pressure and help Ukraine.

"We need help. We still fight for our country. Unity between all democratic countries around Ukraine [is needed]."

Follow our live blog for updates on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on at a press conference for selected media at his official residence the Maryinsky Palace on March 3,2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Laurent Van der Stockt/Getty Images