Russia No Longer Operating Airborne Sorties Beyond Kherson And Donetsk In Fear Of Western Air Defense

Russia's Su-35 was shot down by Ukrainian man-portable missile. photo by Reuters.

The Russian Air Force is barely able to leave its own airspace because Ukraine’s air defenses are so strong, according to UK intelligence.

While Russian pilots are managing to support land operations in the south of Ukraine, they are doing so “without decisive operational effect,” the British Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in its daily intelligence update on Monday.

To compensate, Russia is sending adapted free-fall bombs into Ukrainian territory. However, these “have yet to demonstrate consistent accuracy,” it added.

A sortie is a military term for the deployment of troops from a defensive position or stronghold.

Russia’s recent change in aviation tactics to combat Ukraine’s counteroffensive has not deterred Kyiv from successfully securing its airspace.

In the early days of the counteroffensive, Ukraine was vulnerable to Russian air attacks, with some senior Ukrainian military officials warning about Russia’s “aviation and artillery superiority.”

Moscow’s use of helicopters also blunted Ukraine’s attempts to advance using armored troop vehicles.

But Russia’s helicopter prowess appears to have become “less effective” in recent weeks, according to the UK’s MoD.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine has been able to gain air superiority in the war so far despite Russia’s vastly larger air force. But experts previously told Insider’s Christopher Woody that the “advantage is with defense.”

British Air Marshal Johnny Stringer said at a conference last month that Russian strikes on front-line targets “still mostly consist of missiles, bombs, and rockets being ‘lobbed in with very, very little accuracy.'”

“That is not the hallmark of a top-tier air force, and to be honest, although we are probably seeing some improvements — and I don’t really want to get too drawn on that — they have a long way to go,” he added.

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