Sunday 3 March 2024

Ukrainian Air Defenses Shoot Down 14 Russian Jets Including 11 Su-34 Fighter Bombers as Russia Intensifies Airstrikes.

Ukrainian air defense forces have shot down 14 Russian aircraft in the last 13 days, including 11 Su-34 fighter-bombers, according to Ukrainian claims. This upsurge in success coincides with a significant increase in Russian airstrikes, particularly involving Su-34s.

Analysts believe Russia is attempting to replicate the tactics used in the recent capture of Avdiivka, where relentless aerial bombardment preceded a ground offensive. While the bombing campaign may be achieving some tactical victories, it comes at a heavy cost for Russia.

Increased Airstrikes, Mounting Losses

The Russian air force has significantly increased its bombing sorties in recent weeks, with Thursday witnessing a record 150 sorties involving Su-34s, Su-35s, and Su-25 attack jets. This exceeds the number of daily sorties flown during the initial push towards Kyiv in the early stages of the war.

Ukrainian air defenses, bolstered by a combination of Western and Soviet-era systems, have managed to shoot down several Russian aircraft. This success is attributed to the skills and bravery of Ukrainian defenders, alongside the effectiveness of their integrated air defense network.

However, the human and financial cost for Russia is substantial. They have reportedly lost a quarter of their Su-34 fleet, with each aircraft valued at around $50 million. Additionally, the downed jets likely resulted in the deaths of Russian crews.

Analysts: Russia "Going for Broke"

Some analysts believe Russia's intensified airstrikes are a sign of desperation, suggesting they are "going for broke" in an attempt to secure territorial gains before their resources dwindle. This strategy hinges on achieving quick victories through overwhelming aerial firepower, regardless of the mounting costs.

The future trajectory of the conflict may depend on the resumption of US military aid to Ukraine, which was halted in October 2023. Continued access to advanced weaponry, such as Patriot air defense missiles, could significantly bolster Ukraine's ability to counter Russian airstrikes.

The use of powerful Russian KAB (Korrektsiya Aviatsionnaya Bomba) satellite-guided bombs has also been a point of concern. While these weapons offer tactical advantages, they contribute significantly to the civilian casualties and widespread destruction witnessed in targeted areas.

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