Updated December 23rd, 2023 at 14:33 IST

Russia-Ukraine war: Kyiv claims three Russian bombers downed

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in his nightly video address, commended the Odessa region anti-aircraft unit responsible for the takedown.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy | Image:AP/ X - @r_stefanchuk
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In a significant development in the ongoing war, Ukraine has claimed a major victory against Russian forces, shooting down three Su-34 fighter-bomber aircraft on the southern front. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed the operation as a crucial success in the nearly two-year-old conflict.

"Today at noon in the southern sector – minus three Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers!" declared General Mykola Oleshchuk, commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, on the Telegram messaging app.

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“Brilliantly planned operation,” Ukrainians say

Ukrainian military officials described it as a "brilliantly planned operation," targeting the Su-34s, some of Russia's most modern and potent attack aircraft. Air force spokesperson Yuri Ihnat emphasized the significance of the achievement, saying “there haven’t been Su-34s for some time in our positive statistics”. 

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Zelenskyy commends Ukraine's anti-aircraft unit 

According to a report from The Guardian, President Zelenskyy, in his nightly video address, commended the Odessa region anti-aircraft unit responsible for the takedown, which occurred in the Kherson region. This area, captured by Russia in the initial stages of the invasion, has been a focal point of Ukrainian counteroffensives, with troops establishing a foothold on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in November.

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While Reuters was unable to independently verify the Ukrainian claims, some Russian bloggers reportedly acknowledged the losses, suggesting the possible use of American-supplied Patriot missiles in the operation. The Russian military has yet to comment on the incident.

This reported success represents a significant morale boost for Ukrainian forces and could potentially impact the airpower balance in the ongoing conflict. The downing of these advanced bombers also underscores the effectiveness of Ukrainian air defenses and their increasing reliance on Western-supplied weaponry.

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It remains to be seen how Russia will respond to this setback and whether it will escalate the already-devastating war. However, one thing is clear: Ukraine's determination to defend its territory remains unwavering.

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Published December 23rd, 2023 at 14:33 IST