Donetsk, Apr 5 - DAN. Two Ukrainian helicopters have been shot down as Ukraine made a new attempt to evacuate commanders of the “Azov” neo-Nazi group (banned in the Donetsk People’s Republic) from Mariupol, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Tuesday.

“On April 5 morning, a new attempt by the Kiev regime to evacuate leaders of the nationalistic battalion “Azov” was foiled,” Konashenkov said. “Two Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopters trying to break though to the city from the direction of the sea were downed with portable air defense systems.”

It was not the first attempt to airlift the “Azov” command by helicopters. Earlier reports said that two Ukrainian helicopters flying to Mariupol had been shot down by DPR militiamen. One fell in the Rybatskoye settlement area and another helicopter fell into the sea.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation aimed at demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine. On the same day, DPR and LPR forces began to liberated the occupied areas of Donbass. *jk