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Air Force commander: Ukraine downs 3 Russian warplanes

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 17, 2024 5:16 PM 2 min read
A Su-34 in the sky over Kubinka airfield in Moscow Oblast in Russia on Aug. 29, 2020. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Mihail Tokmakov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's military shot down two Russian Su-34 fighter jets and another Russian Su-35 combat aircraft on Feb. 17, Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk reported.

The destruction of the jets is the latest in a recent uptick of downed Russian planes, including a Beriev A-50 military observation plane in January, which reportedly cost $330 million to produce.

The three fighter jets were downed in Ukraine's east on the morning of Feb. 17, Oleshchuk said on Telegram.

The Sukhoi Su-35 is a single-seater aircraft, and the Su-34 is a two-seater.

Later, the commander said that according to intercepted conversations of the Russian military, one pilot had been found after the downing while the whereabouts of the other four were still being established.

Oleshchuk published a screenshot of a post on a Russian propaganda Telegram channel, saying that only one jet, a Su-35, was lost and other planes successfully returned to their bases, which contradicts the intercepted conversations.

Russia has lost over 330 planes since the beginning of the full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Force reported on Feb. 17.

There are signs that the uptick in aircraft losses has caused Russia to change its aerial strategy, reducing the number of sorties flown by Russia's Air Force, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in December 2023.

Ukraine pins hopes on home-made drones to counter Russia
President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Feb. 7 that the Ukrainian military would create a separate branch of the Armed Forces dedicated to drones. Throughout the full-scale invasion, Ukraine has been a drone tactics pioneer, from applying purpose-built military UAVs to weaponizing civilian models…
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