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128 brigade in the faces #53, Yevhen, MANPADS operator, soldier

"After being hit by a missile from my "Igla", the downed "Ka-52" turned over in the air and flew away after landing. Two minutes later, a column of smoke came up there..."

- Two and a half months before the invasion of Russia, I resigned from military service in the Armed Forces and on the first day of the war, February 24, I came to the military commissariat. I am from Transcarpathia, so I was assigned to the 128th brigade. During my military service, I was an anti-aircraft gunner. I knew how to work with the "Igla" portable anti-aircraft missile complex, and here I also became a MANPADS operator since mid-March.

At that time, Russian aviation worked very actively - attack aircraft "SU-25", helicopters "Mi-8" and "Ka-52" ("Alligators"). The Ka-52 is especially dangerous - the latest combat helicopter, which is armed with a laser guidance system gun, an anti-tank missile system, aerial bombs and other weapons.

There were shelling from the air several times a day, in addition, our positions were covered by artillery, mortars, and tanks.

That day, after another shelling, I was sitting in the dugout when I heard the shout: "Air! Pinwheels!" I run out with the "Igla" and see how the "Ka-52" flies in for landing and turns around. I had removed the cover from the MANPADS and tried to capture the target, and then I saw two more helicopters - "Ka-52" and "Mi-8". All three lined up in one line at a distance of about two kilometers from us - one "Mi-8" in the middle and two "Ka-52" on the sides. They were preparing to open fire on our positions, but I captured the target - "Ka-52" - and fired. As soon as the shot rang out, the helicopters flew apart, but the missile had already captured the target and hit.

The downed "Ka-52" turned upside down in the air and it started landing with a plume of smoke. Two minutes later, a thick column of black smoke fell from there. All my comrades saw the moment of impact and the black smoke, but in those days our intelligence did not launch drones, so there was no confirmation of the downed "Ka-52" for a long time. Only a few weeks later, special forces came to our positions with their drone and they found the remains of the helicopter and confirmed the destruction of the target. On the photo - a piece of cladding from cardan shaft, this is carbon, which is used in construction the Ka-52, not duralumin, which is used for the Mi-8 and most other helicopters.

Losing a Ka-52 is very expensive, the helicopter costs more than 16 million dollars, so after that strike the Russian aviation worked very carefully. However, artillery, mortar and tank fire intensified.

I had four contusions over the next few weeks. For the first time, a mine exploded three meters away. I fell into the dugout, so I survived. The second time our position was shelled by two tanks and a mortar, the third time – a cluster munition exploded in the air above me, and I was covered by an explosive wave. The fourth contusion was the most severe - a 152 mm artillery shell exploded 5 meters away. I was in the trenches, otherwise I would die.

After the last contusion, I was taken to the hospital and then given several weeks of rehabilitation. I was able to go to my grandmother in Transcarpathia and rest in silence as I wanted.

And now I'm ready for battle again...

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