Ukraine on Thursday said it downed five more Russian fighter jets in overnight operations.
The Armed Forces Air Command of Ukraine states that it has shot down one Su-25 fighter jet, two Su-34 fighter-bombers, three Su-30SM planes, and three helicopters today. It also reports destroying an unmanned aerial vehicle and intercepting several cruise missiles. Ukraine claims a total kill count of 44 planes and 44 helicopters during the war.
A Su-24, a Su-25 and a Su-27 were shot down by Russian air defense systems in three different areas of Ukraine, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said at a press briefing in Moscow.
Ukraine published footage, as well as audio, that it said showed its military shooting down a Sukhoi-34 fighter jet.
Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces posted a video on Facebook showing a large burning object plummeting from the sky near the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Sunday.
“Anti-aircraft missile forces of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine shot down another Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber in Kharkiv region,” it said in a note describing the video.
The Su-34, which Russian state media said costs $36 million per unit, is Russia’s newest fighter jet, but it has fallen far short of its promise during the Ukraine conflict.
He said another 14 unmanned aerial vehicles and two rockets of the Smerch multiple rocket launcher were also destroyed.
High-precision missiles were used to target aviation equipment at Ukraine’s Kanatovo military airfield, a large ammunition depot and a fuel depot, the spokesman added.
Russian forces struck 93 areas where Ukrainian soldiers and military equipment were present, as well as multiple command posts and other strategic targets, according to the spokesman.
“Artillery units hit 32 control points, five ammunition depots, 403 strong points, areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment, as well as 51 positions of Ukrainian artillery. More than 600 nationalists and 61 units of weapons and military equipment were destroyed,” said Konashenkov.
“In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, 149 aircraft, 112 helicopters, 726 unmanned aerial vehicles, 288 anti-aircraft missile systems, 2,834 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 325 multiple rocket launchers, 1,306 field artillery and mortars, as well as 2,646 units of special military vehicles have been destroyed,” he said.
At least 3,238 civilians have been killed and 3,397 others injured in Ukraine since the war began on Feb. 24, according to UN estimates. The true toll is feared to be much higher.
Over 5.7 million people have fled to other countries, with some 7.7 million more internally displaced, data from the UN refugee agency shows.
Western estimates, however, put Russian losses at well over 15,000, and NATO authorities claim the Russian toll exceeds 40,000. Both of those figures surpass the toll among Soviet troops during the nearly 10-year war in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
“Russia is struggling with their pace of operations, it’s obvious, they have large losses, their tactics have proven unsuccessful, they’re facing a more determined defense,” said Kostas Tigkos, an expert on the Russian military at Janes Group in London. “It wasn’t that they wanted this to be a slow movement in the Donbas.”
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