Mi-8 helicopter destroyed in apparent drone attack near Tiraspol: video

A video emerged, on March 17, 2024, of an alleged drone attack against a Mil Mi-8 helicopter that was on the ground at an airfield near Tiraspol, in the separatist-held, internationally unrecognized territory of Transnistria, in Moldavia. 

Footage shows the helicopter being struck by an object with an explosion ensuing. Other images that appeared on social media show the alleged wreckage of the helicopter in the aftermath of the attack, totally carbonized. 

Drone attacks have become a daily occurrence in the war between Russia and Ukraine, however, this attack has caught the attention of military and political analysts, since it has taken place in a territory with the potential to become another flashpoint of this conflict. 

While the authorship of the attack remains unknown, the Moldovan government has already denied having anything to do with it and has labelled it as a provocation. Moldova affirms, in fact, that the helicopter in question had been out of service for a long time. 

This is in line with what some analysts pointed out on social media, noting that images from before the attack showed the helicopter in an apparent state of disrepair already before the explosion took place. Some voices have raised the possibility that the attack may have been staged in order to increase political tensions at a time when the Moldovan government is trying to curtail Russian influence in the country. 

In recent weeks tension has escalated between Russia and Moldova, with the latter accusing the former of planning destabilizing acts on the wake of the country’s EU accession candidacy.  

In February 2024, Transnistrian separatists requested Russia, which keeps troops in the territory, for “protection”. This was followed, a few days later, by Russia defying Moldovan sovereignty by opening polling stations in the territory.

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