Four Russian Aircraft Downed, Ukraine Denies Responsibility


The Russian air force had one of its worst days of the war with Ukraine and lost four aircraft but it’s not clear who shot them down. An Su-35, Su-34 and two Mi-8 helicopters were destroyed within minutes of one another in the same general area of Russian territory bordering northeastern Ukraine. They were apparently all on the same strike mission against Ukraine and the ability to carry out that kind of defensive strike would have been a stunning victory for Ukraine forces. But the Ukrainians claim they didn’t do it.

Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukraine air force, said in a TV interview Ukraine wasn’t responsible and joked that the Russians themselves might have done it. He later retracted that hypothesis but now the head of Russian mercenary Wagner Group has revived that theory. “Four planes—if you draw a circle in the places of their fall, it turns out that this circle has a diameter (and all of them lie exactly in a circle) of 40 kilometers (25 miles). … Now go on the Internet and see what kind of air defense weapon could be in the center of this circle, and then build your own versions,” Prigozhin said on Telegram. Russia says it’s looking for “saboteurs” on the ground in the area where the aircraft went down.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. It does sound kind of obvious that a Russian-manned/owned weapon system is responsible, doesn’t it? Disgruntled ‘cannon fodder’?

    • Russian command and control failure? They also have been known to shoot down airliners…

  2. Agree with Roger.

    I’d wager the majority of Russian warriors would just as soon prefer to live their lives peacefully with their family and friends rather than bomb their neighbors because of the power of one lunatic.

  3. USAF was never happy the Army had control of ground based anti aircraft assets. I’m pretty sure if anyone’s kept score, the fratricide tally would not flatter the USAF in spite of the fact that for many years the two lowest requirements for scoring on the ASVAB were for army cooks and stinger operators.
    I cannot imagine dealing with the conscripts the Russkies must be sending to their AD units.

  4. The Russian army doesn’t mind shooting their own soldiers if they aren’t charging into the Ukrainian guns. That’s not much different that shooting down their own aircraft or blowing up some remote part of the kremlin and blaming it in Ukraine. The thugs in power are not a preferred way to run any country… especially if they don’t mind mass killings of their own people.