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

Ukraine flag

Ukraine’s military releases balloons carrying the national flag into the sky in Avdiyivka, eastern Ukraine, on September 9, 2023Europe

  • A Ukrainian flag attached to helium balloons flew into occupied territory, Kyiv’s military said.

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

  • 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, according to Vitalii Barabash, the head of the Avdiivka city military administration.

It eventually flew over Russian-occupied Donetsk City in eastern Ukraine, where Russian soldiers attempted to shoot it down, Barabash told national television, 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 NGO Euromaidan Press.

Barabash said that 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 Insider’s request for comment.

“To be honest, it was probably the most successful flag launch [from Avdiyivka to Donetsk ] ever,” Barabash added. “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.

Donetsk City 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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