Russia has confirmed one of its helicopters was shot down last week by ISIS fighters in the Syrian city of Palmyra. The Russian state-owned TASS News Agency reported a Syrian Mi-25 crashed July 8 when it was hit by “gunfire from the ground,” after its crew attacked ISIS fighters who had broken through the Syrian government defenses. The two Russian pilots died. The Russian Defense Ministry initially denied ISIS’ claims of downing one of its helicopters, but confirmed the loss after a video of the crash was released, IHS Jane’s 360 reported. Analysis of the footage, according to Jane’s, appears to show a Russian Mi-35M, and not a Mi-25, being struck. Russia has lost at least two other helicopters while supporting Syrian government troops. A Mi-28 attack helicopter crashed near Hom, Syria, in April, reportedly due to technical difficulties, and another was lost while attempting to rescue the pilots of the Su-24 that was shot down by Turkey in November.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.