Watch: Russian helicopter gunships swoop above Ukraine as Putin launches invasion

24 February 2022, 09:57 | Updated: 24 February 2022, 15:39

Footage purports to show Russian helicopters heading inwards towards Kiev as they fly near Gostomel Airport

By Will Taylor

Chilling video clips have emerged that show Russian gunships, tanks and convoys moving across Ukraine to launch attacks as Putin invaded the country.

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Helicopter gunships were seen over Ukraine and further clips from Ukrainian border guards show Russia invading. Top right, a Ukrainian tank rolls through Kharkiv
Helicopter gunships were seen over Ukraine and further clips from Ukrainian border guards show Russia invading. Top right, a Ukrainian tank rolls through Kharkiv. Picture: Social Media

CCTV showing military vehicles travel down a road in a single-file column was put out by Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service.

A stream of tracked armoured vehicles and lorries, some marked with the distinctive white “Z” that Russians have painted on their equipment, are seen crossing what appears to be a checkpoint.

The gunships were understood to be launching an attack on an airport miles from Kyiv.

Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service published a video with the title: “The movement of Russian military equipment took place from the occupied peninsula.”

While it was not possible to immediately verify the location, the latter phrase would be a reference to Crimea, which Russia forcefully annexed in 2014.

It said in the attached video description on YouTube: “As reported by the State Border Guard Service, Russia's aggression took place today at about 5.00.

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Russian tanks seen moving into Ukraine as invasion begins

“The attack was also carried out by the TOT of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

“Currently, the movement of military equipment from the peninsula is being recorded across the administrative border.

“It will be recalled that within Luhansk, Sumy, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Zhytomyr oblasts, attacks on border units, border patrols and checkpoints are carried out with the use of artillery, heavy equipment and small arms.”

World leaders have condemned the invasion, with Western powers preparing tough sanctions in response and US President Joe Biden said the world will hold Russia to account.

Boris Johnson said: "This is a catastrophe for our continent."

Russia launched its invasion early on Thursday and Ukraine said its military command centres in the capital, Kiev, and in Kharkiv, near the border, were hit.

Vladimir Putin said he had ordered a military operation to disarm Ukraine, claiming Russia is under threat from its ex-Soviet neighbour, after recognising rebel-held break-away regions in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Minister pledged unprecedented punitive sanctions against Russia

He said he feels under threat from Kiev, claiming the bloodshed is on that Government’s heads, and has previously demanded it never join Nato.

Ukraine’s military claims to have downed six military planes and said 50 Russians have been killed.

Russia denied the shoot-down claims earlier, and said it has suppressed Ukraine’s air defences and that its border guards did not put up resistance.

The-fast developing situation means the state of forces is not entirely clear.

Ukrainian media said it fears that hundreds may have already died and claimed a Russian invasion of the coastal cities of Odessa and Mariupol is under way.