Ukraine has shot down 55 Russian warplanes, US general says
General James Hecker told the Air, Space and Cyber Conference in Washington DC, on Monday (Tuesday, AEST) that Russia has never been able to establish air superiority over Ukraine.
The Kremlin was well aware of Ukraine’s air defences, dating from the Soviet era, but Russia’s initial strikes in late-February failed to destroy those weapons, such as surface-to-air missiles.
As a result, after six months of the war, Russian aircraft rarely fly deep into Ukraine and instead are firing long-range missiles.
“When they tried to take their fighters and their aircraft inside those (Ukrainian) missile engagement zones, they were shot down,” said Hecker.
“Roughly about 55 Russian fighters have been shot down by the integrated air and missile defence for the Ukraine.”
On Monday, the British Ministry of Defence said Russia had lost 55 combat jets since the start of the war on February 24, including four that were “highly likely” lost in the past 10 days.
Meanwhile, Russian forces “continue to conduct airstrikes that are impacting civilian infrastructure” in recent days during the ongoing fighting in Ukraine, a senior US military official said on Monday.
Most recently, Russian forces struck a “dam near Kryvyi Rih” and they conducted an airstrike “near a power plant in Mykolaiv” the official said.
“This disturbing pattern which includes strikes that hit power stations last week continues to show Russian forces’ disregard for civilian life,” the official added.
Ukrainians “continue to make efforts to consolidate their gains” on the battlefield, “holding the border to the southeast,” the official said.
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