Skip to content
Edit post

Ukraine war latest: Ukraine downs 3 Russian Su-34 jets in 1 day

by Kateryna Hodunova February 29, 2024 10:30 PM 6 min read
A Su-34 in the sky over Kubinka airfield on Aug. 29, 2020. (Mihail Tokmakov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.

Become a member Support us just once

Key developments on Feb. 29:

  • Air Force: Ukraine downs 3 Russian Su-34 jets in 1 day
  • Chief commander: Ukrainian forces push back Russian troops in Orlivka, Donetsk Oblast
  • General Staff: Ukraine hits Russian troops clustered in Olenivka, 19 soldiers killed
  • UK Defense Ministry: 'Territory west of Avdiivka remains focal effort of Russian offensive'
  • European Parliament calls on EU to 'give Ukraine whatever it needs to defeat Russia.'

Ukrainian forces shot down three Russian Su-34 attack planes on Feb. 29, Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat confirmed to the Kyiv Independent.

The first Su-34 was downed at 1 a.m. local time (EET) in the east, according to the Air Force.

The other two Su-34 jets were downed at around 9 a.m. local time near Avdiivka and Marinka, Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk said.

Russia has lost almost a dozen Su-34 aircraft in February alone, according to the Air Force. Each plane is estimated to cost around $36 million.

Two Russian A-50 aircraft were also downed by Ukrainian forces in January and February, each costing around $330 million.

Ukrainian forces push back Russian troops in Orlivka in Donetsk Oblast

Ukrainian forces held back a Russian attack on the outskirts of the front-line village of Orlivka in Donetsk Oblast, Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi reported on Feb. 29, following his visit to the front line.

Ukrainian forces withdrew from the village of Lastochkyne near the recently captured Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast on Feb. 26 and set up defenses near neighboring settlements, including Orlivka, to prevent further Russian advances westward.

Syrskyi described the situation at the front line in Donetsk Oblast as "difficult," with Russian troops continuing to conduct offensives "in many directions of the front."

The situation is "particularly tense" in the villages that Ukrainian forces withdrew to after Russia captured Avdiivka.

Syrskyi said he noted the "courage, resilience, and heroism" of the 3rd Assault Brigade and 25th Separate Airborne Brigade, which held back the Russian offensive on Orlivka.

Syrksyi also said that during his visit, he took measures to correct "certain miscalculations" commanders had made that "directly affected the stability of the defense in certain areas."

"I took all measures to correct the situation on the spot, with the allocation of an additional resource of ammunition and material means, as well as the necessary reserves," Syrskyi said.

Ukrainian forces withdrew from the small industrial city of Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast on Feb. 17 amid ammunition shortages after months of repelling Russia's renewed offensive.

Ukrainian forces then withdrew from the villages of Stepove and Severne near Avdiivka on Feb. 27, north of Lastochkyne.

‘Our reserves will run out:’ Ukrainian artillery sounds alarm on Western shell shortage
Hiding beneath sparse winter cover in a crude, muddy ditch, a great steel monster lies in wait for an opportunity to attack. Adorned on either side with painted plus signs, the gun’s huge barrel looks up at the sky over the Bakhmut front line, across which thousands

General Staff: Ukraine strikes Russian troops cluster in Olenivka, 19 soldiers killed

Ukraine's Armed Forces launched a strike targeting Russian troops gathered in occupied Olenivka in Donetsk Oblast, the General Staff reported on Feb.29.

The strike reportedly killed 19 Russian soldiers, including the deputy commander of a military unit. Twelve soldiers, including the commander of that unit, were reportedly injured.

Ukraine conducted the strike using a multiple rocket launcher, according to the General Staff.

Ukraine's military intelligence agency confirmed the successful strike on Russian troops in Olenivka.

Andrii Yusov, a military intelligence spokesperson, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that "similar operations would be conducted in the future."

"The intelligence services are working on the ground to detect clusters of the opponent military personnel and equipment," Yusov said.

A pro-Russian Ukrainian politician who fled Ukraine in 2014, Oleg Tsaryov, on Feb. 28, claimed on his Telegram channel that the rocket attack happened when the Russian military personnel were lining up to receive awards from the military command.

UK Defense Ministry: 'Territory west of Avdiivka remains focal effort of Russian offensive'

Russia continues to take advantage of the Ukrainian retreat near Avdiivka moving further west, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported in its Feb. 29 intelligence update.

Since Russia took control of Avdiivka, it has advanced approximately six kilometers west from the center of the town, the ministry wrote.

Russian troops are likely looking for the right moment to benefit from "fewer, well-defended positions and urban areas from which Ukrainian forces can defend," the intelligence update said.

The small city of Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast was captured by Russian troops on Feb. 17 amid ammunition shortages after months of repelling Russia’s renewed offensive.

Within several days, Ukraine's Armed Forces withdrew from Lastochkyne, Severne, and Stepove villages near Avdiivka.

"Territory west of Avdiivka remains focal effort of Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine," said the report.

According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, tactical gains of the latest captured villages serve primarily to consolidate Russian positions around Avdiivka.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) warned that Russia could replicate its successful tactics in Avdiivka on a larger scale if the West continues to delay military assistance.

Ukrainian soldiers recall retreat from Avdiivka – on foot, leaving their wounded behind
Editor’s Note: The Kyiv Independent does not disclose the soldiers’ full names since they were not authorized to speak with the press. DONETSK OBLAST – As Russian forces closed in on a Ukrainian pocket southeast of Avdiivka, infantryman Oleh heard the order clearly: “There will be no evacuation. Le…

European Parliament calls on EU to 'give Ukraine whatever it needs to defeat Russia'

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Feb. 29 calling on EU member states to support Ukraine with "whatever is needed for Kyiv to win its war against Russia," including long-range weapons.

The move comes as an ammunition deficit caused by delays in defense aid from the U.S. and EU has shown its impact on the battlefield, with Ukraine losing more territory.

Ukraine's calls on Berlin to provide much-needed long-range Taurus missiles were recently rejected again, reportedly due to fears of escalation.

The resolution was approved by 451 votes in favor and 46 against, with 49 abstentions, according to the parliament's press service.

Members of the European Parliament (MEP) said that the main goal is for Ukraine to win the war, adding that "serious consequences" await if that does not happen as other authoritarian regimes would "assess their own leeway for exerting aggressive foreign policies."

To ensure Kyiv’s victory, the EU should have "no self-imposed restriction on military assistance to Ukraine," MEPs said, urging European countries to provide Ukraine with air-defense systems, long-range missiles such as Taurus and Storm Shadow/SCALP, various types of artillery and ammunition (155 mm in particular), drones and other weapons.

"All EU and NATO allies should support Ukraine militarily with no less than 0.25% of their GDP annually, say MEPs, who also urge EU countries to immediately enter into dialogue with defense companies in order to ensure increased production and deliveries of ammunition and missiles to Ukraine, which should be prioritized over orders from other third countries," reads the press release.

The European Parliament also called on the U.S. Congress to immediately approve $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, which has remained stalled for months.

The resolution underlined the urgency to develop a legal framework to confiscate state-owned Russian assets frozen in the EU and transfer them to Ukraine.

"Russia must be obliged to pay reparations imposed on it to ensure that it contributes substantially to rebuilding Ukraine."

The European Parliament also called on member states to extend their sanctions against Russia and Belarus, including "banning Russian uranium and metallurgical imports to the EU, terminating nuclear cooperation with Russia, and imposing a full embargo on EU imports of Russian agricultural and fishery products as well as fossil fuels and liquefied natural gas transported by sea through pipelines."

Opinion: Will Europe ever get serious about defense?
“Words, words, just words,” sighed one VIP attendee at the Munich Security Conference as representatives of three European Union member states discussed security cooperation. “China will get the message: ‘No need to worry about us here,’” said another about the signals being sent from Bavar…
Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.
Freedom can be costly. Both Ukraine and its journalists are paying a high price for their independence. Support independent journalism in its darkest hour. Support us for as little as $1, and it only takes a minute.
visa masterCard americanExpress

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe
Please, enter correct email address
* indicates required
* indicates required
* indicates required
* indicates required
* indicates required


* indicates required
* indicates required


* indicates required
* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.