Russians opened fire on a Ukrainian flag tied to balloons, revealing their position for a counterattack, Ukraine says

A Ukraine flag in the sky, hanging from a row of red balloons.
Ukraine's military released balloons carrying the national flag into the sky from Avdiyivka, eastern Ukraine, on Saturday.Europe
  • A Ukrainian flag attached to helium balloons flew into occupied territory, Kyiv's military said.

  • An official said Russian soldiers tried to shoot it down but revealed their firing positions.

  • Ukraine was able to use this information to launch an attack on the soldiers, the official added.

Russian soldiers accidentally revealed their positions after they tried to shoot down a Ukrainian flag suspended from balloons flying over occupied territory, a Ukrainian official said.

The large flag, attached to dozens of helium balloons, was released from the Ukrainian-controlled town of Avdiyivka on Sunday by the military.

The launch was to commemorate the 245th anniversary of the city's founding, Vitalii Barabash, the head of the Avdiivka city military administration, said.

Barabash told national television the flag eventually flew over the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, where Russian soldiers attempted to shoot it down, The Kyiv Independent reported.


"When the Ukrainian flag flew from Avdiyivka to Donetsk, the Russians tried to shoot it down with all the means at their disposal and revealed all their firing positions," he said, according to a translation by the Ukrainian nongovernmental organization Euromaidan Press.

Barabash said Ukraine's 110th brigade then "worked effectively to attack the Russian soldiers."

He didn't give specifics of the attack or how successful it was. Ukraine's defense ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

"To be honest, it was probably the most successful flag launch ever," Barabash added, referring to launches from Avdiyivka to Donetsk. "For several hours, the Ukrainian flag was flying over occupied Donetsk. I had a lot of messages from people living in the occupied territory, who told me they are waiting for the liberation of Donetsk."

Footage of the flag flying over various parts of the Russian-occupied city was published by the Telegram channel Typical Donetsk.

The city of Donetsk has been occupied by Russia since 2014 when fighting in eastern Ukraine began.

Barabash's comments come amid elections in other Moscow-occupied territories, including Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia.

The Kremlin is expected to claim a heavy victory in the elections, which have been dismissed as "fake elections" and a "sham" by Kyiv and the West, The Guardian reported.

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