In an aerial fight on Friday, the Ukrainian Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jet in the sky over Kherson Oblast, according to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“Today, May 27, at about 2 pm, a MiG-29 fighter of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine shot down a Russian Su-35 fighter in the sky of the Kherson region,” the air force said in a statement. The Su-35, it added, was “hunting for Ukrainian assault aircraft.”
“Glory to Ukrainian pilots! Death to the occupiers!” the statement proclaimed.
The Su-35, also known as the Flanker E, is a highly versatile, multi-purpose aircraft that is expected to cost around $50 million per unit. The fighter jet includes a separate avionics system that employs a digital information control system and the latest radar system capable of engaging eight targets simultaneously. The aircraft has a range of 2,200 miles and can soar at speeds up to 1,500 mph (2,400 kph) (3,600 km).
This aerial confrontation is the latest setback for Russia’s incursion in Ukraine, which has failed to overcome the military opposition of Ukrainians since Russian President Vladimir Putin started the invasion in late February.
“The Russian Air Force still shows no sign of running a campaign to gain air superiority,” retired British Air Marshal Edward Stringer previously said.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Su-35 fighter jets like the one shot down Friday struck Ukrainian targets last week, destroying the “military infrastructure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine during the special military operation.”
Since the beginning of the war, 179 warplanes, 127 helicopters, 1,019 unmanned aerial vehicles, 323 air defence systems, 3,266 tanks and armoured fighting vehicles, 433 multiple launch rocket systems, 1,682 artillery systems, and 3,190 military vehicles have been destroyed, according to Russian military personnel. Moreover, throughout the three-month battle, Russia fired more missiles than any other country since World War II.
According to estimates from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as of May 27th, the Ukrainian military had destroyed 206 Russian planes, 170 helicopters, and 503 drones. Over the course of the war, Russia lost 29,750 military soldiers, according to estimates.
The battle, which has not resulted in the outright win Putin hoped for, has also taken a toll on the Russian people and economy due to harsh sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries.
According to reports, many Russian government officials have turned against the president and his war. Moreover, even government officials have started criticising him for refusing to withdraw from Ukraine.
On Friday, Leonid Vasyukevich, a Communist Party member who serves on a regional legislative assembly in Russia’s Far East, was removed from a meeting with Putin after he advocated for the withdrawal of Russian soldiers.
“We understand that if our country does not stop the military operation, there will be even more orphans in our country,” Vasyukevich said. “During the military operation, young people who could bring great benefit to our country die and become disabled.”
As a result, some Russian officials labelled Vasyukevich, a “traitor.”