Ukrainian forces "likely" scored hits on Russian air defense equipment and helicopters earlier this week at the Berdyansk and Luhansk airfields, the British Defense Ministry said Friday in its daily intelligence update on Ukraine.
The ministry’s report said nine helicopters at Berdyansk and five at Luhansk were "likely" destroyed.
Ukraine says it used U.S.-provided long-range ATACMS missiles for the first time in the attacks.
If the report about the helicopters is confirmed, the British Defense Ministry said, "it is highly likely these losses will have an impact on Russia’s ability to defend and conduct further offensive activity" in the affected areas. It said Russia would also have difficulty replacing the helicopters.
The loss of the equipment is "likely" placing more pressure on the Russian pilots who are "almost certainly suffering combat exhaustion and maintenance issues due to the unanticipated protracted campaign," the ministry said.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily address that he had talked with U.S. President Joe Biden Thursday about how the missiles could help "speed up" Ukraine’s liberation from Russia.
The two leaders also talked about the situation in the Middle East.
"No matter what happens, all parties must ensure that ordinary civilians receive the necessary assistance and are able to flee hostilities," Zelenskyy said about the conflict in Israel. "Any form of terror and warmongering is unacceptable."