Ukrainian Air Force Downs Three More Russian Fighter-Bombers, Totaling 12 in 13 Days
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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff & Agencies

In a relentless series of victories for the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), three additional Russian Sukhoi Su-34 fighter bombers were successfully brought down on Thursday. This brings the total tally to 12 Su planes downed in the last 13 days and 13 Russian planes overall, including an A-50U radar aircraft.

Ukrainian Air Force commander Mykola Oleshchuk reported the latest triumphs, emphasizing the continued success of Ukrainian forces against Russian aerial threats. The first Su-34 was downed in the Eastern direction, marking another blow for Russian aviation.

“Today, Feb. 29, is a date that occurs once every four years, but it is already a familiar day for Russians with the loss of another plane. Minus Su-34 in the Eastern direction!” noted Oleshchuk via Telegram, expressing gratitude for the efforts of the Ukrainian Air Force and stating, “Thanks for the work! Victory on earth is forged in heaven!”

Shortly after, Oleshchuk reported the downing of two more Su-34 jets in the Avdiivka and Mariupol directions. His message conveyed frustration with Russian pilots, stating, “They don’t seem to get it! Russian pilots draw no conclusions! Today, at about 9.00 in the Avdiivka and Mariupol directions, two more invaders’ Su-34 were destroyed! Together – to victory!”

The fate of the Russian pilots remains unclear, and the specific weapon used in these downings was not disclosed by the Ukrainian Air Force.

The Sukhoi Su-34, Russia’s frontline fighter bomber, is equipped for precision strikes on ground targets, capable of launching laser-guided bombs or long-range guided missiles. Valued at around $36 million each, it stands as one of Russia’s costliest military aircraft.

This remarkable series of blows against Russian forces’ aircraft began on Feb. 17, with Ukrainian forces reportedly shooting down three Russian fighter aircraft over the Donetsk region. Forbes speculates that Ukraine’s success may be attributed to the deployment of American-made Patriot missile launchers, NASAMS surface-to-air missile batteries, and other advanced defense systems.

Forbes notes that while Ukraine’s air-defense success is significant, there is a risk of ammunition depletion, as the Patriot and NASAMS batteries use US-made missiles, and Ukraine reportedly hasn’t received any ammunition from the United States since late December.

The repeated victories pose a substantial setback for Russian forces, who struggle to replace lost warplanes due to foreign sanctions. Forbes highlights the concerning pace at which Russia is losing jets, far outpacing their ability to replace them, showcasing a notable vulnerability in their air capabilities.

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