Ukrainian Armed Forces pilot was reported on November 18 to have defected to Russia, with further details remaining uncertain. A Russian Ka-52 attack helicopter pilot reportedly played a role in helping to organise the flight, although the aircraft used for the defection remains uncertain. The involvement of a Russian helicopter crew indicates that there may have been some communication with Russian forces planning the defection in advance. The incident comes as defections by Ukrainian personnel have continued to rise, while morale has reportedly taken a blow due to the failure of a months long summer offensive against Russian positions, extreme casualty rates faced, the inability of new Western armaments to turn the tide of the conflict, and more recently the diversion of new Western arms supplies to Israel which will increasingly exacerbate Ukraine’s equipment shortages.

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