Russia Lost 621 Fixed-wing and Rotorcraft Air Platforms Since It Invaded Ukraine

his photograph taken on November 20, 2022, shows a damaged plane next to others destroyed at the International Airport of Kherson in the outskirts of Kherson, Ukraine. Russia has reportedly lost more than double the number of aircraft compared to Ukraine since the start of the war in February. Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

According to a report from a Dutch-based military blog, Russia has reportedly lost more than double the number of aircraft compared to Ukraine since the start of the war.

The Kremlin’s military had lost 621 aircraft and helicopters since Russia’s late-February invasion of Ukraine, reported the open-source military tracking site Oryx. The tally includes combat aircraft, vehicles and drones that have been destroyed, damaged or captured.

In comparison, Oryx counted that the Ukrainian military lost 129 aerial vehicles in the same period.

Early last month, the U.K. Defense Ministry predicted that Russia was losing its aircraft faster than it could replace it due to its poorly trained air forces. The commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, Valeriy Zlauzhnyi, also predicted that Russia had lost 621 aircraft as of March 3, over twice what the Russian military lost during the Soviet-Afghan War from 1979 to 1989.

Oryx noted that its report is based on “destroyed aerial assets of which photo or videographic evidence or pilot death notices are available,” meaning the total number of aircraft lost is predicted to be significantly higher than Friday’s totals.

Russia also appears to be blowing through a significant amount of its military equipment stocks compared to Ukraine. Oryx reports that while Ukraine has captured over 450 tanks and 650 armored vehicles in the war, Russia has lost over 12,000 ground-based vehicles such as main battle tanks, armored vehicles, special vehicles and trucks since it invaded its western neighbor.

The Kremlin’s army has been largely overwhelmed by Ukrainian troops after severely misjudging its ability to capture the post-Soviet state. One report from British think tank Royal United Services Institute on Friday showed four key assumptions that Russia had banked on before its invasion, according to copies of orders signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Several sources have also reported exceedingly low morale among Putin’s troops due to poor training and successful Ukrainian counteroffensives that have forced Russia to withdraw from once-occupied cities. In response, Russia has focused much of its energy in recent weeks targeting civilian infrastructure and knocking out power across Ukraine.

On Friday, Putin reportedly told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that targeting civilian infrastructure had “become an unavoidable and inevitable response to Kiev’s provocative attacks against Russia’s civilian infrastructure.” However, the promise of future missile attacks from Russia prompted Spain to add to Ukraine’s stockpile, according to a tweet from the Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.

In his nightly address Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said officials have continued to gain “critical” support from several European allies “for the launch of a special tribunal—a tribunal on Russian aggression.”

“London, Paris, Berlin, Warsaw and other capitals … We are strengthening our position everywhere, accumulating the support of our partners,” Zelensky said. “I am sure that there will be a tribunal, there will be justice.”

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