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Putin suffers fresh blow as Russian helicopter explodes mid-air in Ukraine

Ukraine has delivered another devastating blow to Vladimir Putin by shooting down a state-of-the-art Russian helicopter on the eastern front line.

Footage of the devastating strike was shared on social media on Sunday (December 4), as the Ukrainian air force stated that the 138th anti-aircraft brigade had targeted the aircraft in the Donetsk region at around 2pm..

The Russian military helicopter can be seen flying above Donetsk before it is suddenly struck by an anti-aircraft missile.

READ MORE: Russia 'is not finished and we have tons more weapons to use,' says top Putin chief

The helicopter burst into flames, with thick smoke billowing into the sky, then nosedived toward the ground.

The Ukrainian air force command said the Ka-52 elite attack helicopter, which regularly targets Ukrainian forces, was hit by the Buk air defence system, initially developed by the Soviet Union to counter aerial threats.

The humiliating blow to Russia's forces comes as the top US intelligence chief Avril Haines predicted a "reduced tempo" in fighting over the winter months.

Spy chief Ms Haines said that most of the fighting is currently around the Bakhmut and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine, adding that there was a "fair amount of scepticism" as to whether Russia would be able to launch a counter-offensive in the spring.

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Speaking at the Reagan National Defence Forum in California, Ms Haines also suggested that President Putin “is becoming more informed of the challenges that the military faces in Russia”.

However, Nataliya Gumenyuk, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Southern Defence Forces, warned that Russia is getting ready for a “massive attack” on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.

Russia has already hit much of Ukraine's vital services, with many people left without power and other services ahead of the winter.

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