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A video appears to show a British anti-aircraft missile shooting down a Russian helicopter in Ukraine.
The UK is said to have sent a team of Starstreak operators to a secret location in a neighboring country to train Ukrainian forces.
Russia’s ambassador to the UK said British arms supplied to Ukraine were “legitimate targets”.
A British anti-aircraft missile was used to shoot down a Russian helicopter in Ukraine for the first time, according to reports.
Footage shows the Starstreak high-speed missile system hitting a Russian Mi-28N attack helicopter over the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, causing its tail to snap in mid-air and splitting the plane in two.
Starstreak is Britain’s most advanced man-portable missile system, and the UK co-signed Ukraine in March with another shipment of Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons (NLAW).
A UK Ministry of Defense source told The Times of London that they believed the video showed Starstreak in action.
The weapon is guided to its target by three laser beam darts, according to the Times. The missile accelerates to Mach 4 (3,000 mph) and is the fastest short-range missile in existence.
It can be fired from a carrier or shoulder launcher and can hit targets up to 7 km away, or more than 4 miles, according to the newspaper.
Due to the complexity of its use, troops must successfully complete 1,000 shots on a simulator before being allowed to launch an actual missile.
To help Ukrainians master the weapon, the UK Ministry of Defense sent a team of Starstreak operators and a simulator to a secret location in a neighboring country for training, The Times reported.
Although British operators planned to spend two to three weeks intensively training Ukrainian troops, its use this week suggests that soldiers learned to use it in just one or two weeks, according to the newspaper.
The British Ministry of Defense source told The Times that the anti-aircraft system had been deployed for nearly a week.
Russia’s ambassador to the UK told Russian news agency TASS on Saturday that British arms supplies to Ukraine were “legitimate targets” for the Russian military.
Ambassador Andrey Kelin said the supply of weapons such as Starstreak missiles is “destabilizing”.
“They exacerbate the situation, making it even more bloody. Apparently, these are new high-precision weapons,” Kelin told the news agency.
“Naturally, our armed forces will consider them a legitimate target if these supplies cross the Ukrainian border.”
Read the original article on Business Insider
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