Ukraine claims to down three Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber aircraft

Ukraine claims to down three Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber aircraft

Ukraine claims to down three Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber aircraft

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and military officials said the country’s forces shot down three Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber aircraft on Friday on the southern front, hailing it as a success in the 22-month-old war.

The Russian military has not officially acknowledged the incident, but Russian bloggers have admitted the loss. Analysts suggest that US-supplied Patriot missiles were likely used in the downing of three Russian Su-34 fighter bombers in the southern sector.

Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk announced it on the Telegram messaging app, praising the Odesa region anti-aircraft unit for the successful operation in the Kherson region.

This area was occupied during Moscow’s February 2022 invasion, and Ukrainian forces have been working to regain territory, establishing positions on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson in November.

Air Force spokesperson Yuri Ihnat described it on national television as a “brilliantly planned operation.” “There haven’t been Su-34s for some time in our positive statistics,” he said, citing the model as one of Russia’s most modern aircraft for bombing and other assaults.

Eurasia Daily, a Russia-based journal, said the Ukrainian account was plausible. Kyiv could have launched Patriot missiles, which have a range of up to 160 km (100 miles) against high-altitude targets, from the western side of the Dnipro River, it said.

Ukrainian aviation expert Valeriy Romanenko told Ukrainian NV Radio he believed Patriot missiles most likely downed the Russian jets.”This was a situation where the Russians were…dropping up to 100 bombs in the south. Three were flying together and got caught. They didn’t quite take into account that the Patriot has a range of 160 km for aerodynamic targets,” Romanenko said.

Ukrainian successes have become less frequent since its forces made lightning gains a year ago in retaking Russian-held territory in the northeast and in the south.

A counteroffensive launched in the east and south in June has had limited progress. Zelenskyy acknowledges that gains have been slower than hoped but has dismissed assertions by the military commander in chief, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, that the war has entered a phase of ‘attrition’ requiring a change in tactics.

With inputs from Reuters.