On Friday night, Feb. 25, 2022, Ukrainian air defenses claimed to have shot down two Russian Ilyushin Il-76 and two helicopters. Russia has not acknowledged the loss of any of its Il-76 aircraft.
Ukrainian air defenses claimed to have shot down one Russian Il-76 transport near Vasylkiv, south of the capital in Kyiv. Ukrainian reports claimed the aircraft was carrying a “landing force” but did not specify any number of casualties or survivors from the reported incident.
Following reports of this first Il-76 shoot-down incident, a “second Il-76” was reported to have been shot down over Bila Tserkya.
The report originated from the Ukrainian State Special Communications Agency. Early reports did not suggest what mission this aircraft may have been performing and no specific reports of casualties or survivors has been provided as of this hour. Both reports were later confirmed, at around 04.30UTC by AP:
The reports of the Il-76 aircraft being shot down have been accompanied by photos on the internet, both from news agencies and on social media, that show aircraft wreckage. Some components in these photos are identifiable as Il-76 components, most notably, the distinctive tail gun turret in one photo.
According to some reports, two helicopters of the Russian Air Force were shot down by Ukrainian armed forces at Vasylkiv Airbase.
Ukraine’s army said Saturday it had repelled a Russian attack on an army base on one of the capital city Kyiv’s main avenues and shot down several Russian aircraft, including a transport carrying paratroopers.
Russia “attacked one of the military units on Victory Avenue in Kyiv. The attack was repulsed,” Ukraine’s army said on its verified Facebook page, without specifying where exactly the incident took place.
The Russian military continued its advance, laying claim Friday to the southern Ukraine city of Melitopol. Still, it was unclear in the fog of war how much of Ukraine is still under Ukrainian control and how much or little Russian forces have seized.
As his country fended off explosions and gunfire, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed for a cease-fire and warned in a bleak statement that multiple cities were under attack.