The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces claimed on Thursday that Kyiv’s Air Forces had knocked down a Russian Ka-52 in the eastern Donetsk region in the early morning. Two hours later, Ukraine’s 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade shot down another one of the prized aircraft near Robotyne, a village in the Zaporizhzhia region.
Military experts have previously called the Ka-52 one of Russia’s most capable attack helicopters. But Hodges, who served as commanding general of U.S. Army Europe, discussed Ukraine’s second successful strike during an interview with the online news source UKRLIFE.TV, and said that the footage of the helicopter being taken down near Robotyne showed that the Russian pilot lacked the skills to fly “a multimillion-dollar state-of-the-art” vehicle.
“As I watched the video, what I was struck with was how high the helicopter was in the sky,” Hodges said. “That’s a death sentence for any helicopter that flies in combat. At that altitude, they’re always going to be shut down.”
“To me, this is either arrogance, or inexperience, or they just haven’t learned anything,” Hodges continued. “And I think what we’re seeing is even with a multimillion-dollar state-of-the-art attack helicopter, if you have a pilot that is not experienced, then they’re going to be shot down.”
Hodges appears to be referring to the footage posted to X, formerly Twitter. The video was posted by the account OSINTtechnical, which is run by an analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses think tank.
The retired general added during his interview that even “after 18 months” of war, Russia is showing that they are still “really weak” despite having effective and equipped aircraft.
“There’s so much conversation about Ukraine can’t do this, Ukraine can’t do this,” Hodges said. “On the other side … They [Russia] have lost so many pilots, they’ve lost so many tanks, they’ve lost so much artillery, they continue to lose generals. Their logistics system is fragile. So, I think now is the time to really apply pressure on Russia, not to stop or hesitate.”
Newsweek has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.
Russia’s military has repeatedly faced personnel and morale issues, as several soldiers sent to the front lines complained about a lack of training and equipment. Last week, a Russian military blogger accused Moscow’s military officials of encouraging their soldiers to “report false successes on their missions to please their commanders,” according to a report from the Institute for the Study of War. The blogger also indicated that Russian soldiers have staged battle scenes designed to mimic battlefield success.
Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which was launched in June, has been moving at a much slower pace than first expected, although Kyiv got a boost of morale earlier this week after reclaiming another village in the Donetsk region.