Ukrainian forces once destroyed 26 Russian helicopters, 12 planes in one day – Zelenskyy
Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Screenshot from the video)

Ukrainian defenders, using long-range weapons from partner countries, destroyed 26 Russian helicopters and 12 warplanes in the space of a single day, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during a press conference in Latvia on Thursday.

The head of state did not specify which weapon he was talking about, but he probably meant long-range ATACMS missiles with a cluster warhead.

The president wanted to illustrate how delays in the supply of modern weapons from partners affect Ukraine.

Ukraine has used "some long-range weapons" that were handed over by partners. He noted that the partners, by listening, will understand exactly what kind of weaponry Kyiv is talking about.

"We destroyed 26 helicopters in a day, 12 planes that rose up and then hit with missiles, against which these systems (air defense, Zelenskyy mentioned them earlier – ed.) and worked – we destroyed 12 at a time. We just had the means," explained the Ukrainian leader.

On October 17, 2023, the Special Operations Forces reported that as a result of the Dragonfly operation at night that day, nine helicopters, part of the air defense system, an arsenal and "dozens" of Russians were destroyed in temporarily occupied Berdyansk and Luhansk.

In the evening of that day, Zelenskyy said that the agreements with US President Joe Biden are being fulfilled, and the ATACMS long-range missiles "have proven themselves".

In the following weeks, videos of ATACMS being launched by Ukrainian defenders began to appear.

The New York Times reported that Ukraine was given only about 20 such missiles, and a ban was imposed on strikes on the Russian territory.

ATACMS, which Ukraine received, is the oldest and basic version with a cluster warhead, which hits at a maximum of 165 km. Other ATACMS modifications with a unitary warhead have a range of up to 300 km, and the experimental version of the PRISM missile has a range of up to 500 km.

At the end of October, the Russian media reported that two ATACMS missiles destroyed three S-400 air defense systems near Luhansk. A few days later, the Armed Forces confirmed strikes against Russian air defense in Crimea and near Luhansk.

In an interview with The Economist, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi said that Ukraine had already hit Crimea with ATACMS missiles.

At the beginning of November, leading US Republicans asked Joe Biden for longer-range ATACMS for the Armed Forces.