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Ukraine says it destroyed Russian fighter jet essential to Kremlin’s military action

Ukraine’s military said on Sunday it had destroyed one of Russia’s newest and most advanced fighter jets in a drone attack on a military base inside Russia.

The Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jet, nicknamed “Criminal” by NATO, was shot down on the runway of an air base in the Astrakhan region, almost 600 kilometers from the front lines of the fighting, according to Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency. .

The agency posted satellite photos on its Telegram channel to support its claim, writing: “The images show that on June 7, the Su-57 was still intact, but on June 8, distinct explosion craters and fire spots emerged. close as a result of fire damage.”

The Su-57 is a fifth-generation twin-engine supersonic fighter and was seen as Moscow’s answer to Western stealth jets such as the US Air Force’s F-22 Raptor.

But its development, which began in 2002, according to the US military, has been slow, and an Su-57 crashed during a test flight in 2019. The Russian military received its first Su-57 in 2020, according to a report by state news agency TASS, which stated that the jet was previously “tested” under combat conditions in Syria in 2018.

The Telegram post noted the Su-57’s ability to carry Kh-59 and Kh-69 cruise missiles, which the jet could launch against Ukraine from the safety of Russian airspace.

Although experts have expressed doubts about the Su-57’s capabilities compared to the F-22, Russian officials have praised its role in attacks on Ukraine.

In a 2022 TASS report, then-Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said the Su-57 “proved brilliant.”

“The aircraft has a very high degree of protection against various air defense systems, it has protection against missiles… The most important thing is that it has very powerful weapons. We have also tried and tested these weapons, they work brilliantly,” Shoigu said at the time.

The exact number of combat-ready Su-57s available to the Russian air force is unclear. Flight Global’s “World Air Forces 2024” directory lists 14 Su-57s as active and another 62 as on order.

“The Russian Aerospace Forces currently only has a limited number of these combat aircraft in service,” the GUR Telegram post said.

TASS reported in 2022 that Russian forces will receive a total of 22 Su-57s by the end of this year.

If reports of Ukrainian drone strikes inside Russia prove true, it will mark another success for Kiev’s low-cost drones, which have destroyed high-value Russian assets. The price of an Su-57 is estimated at between $35 million and $54 million, according to the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Drone attacks have become a growing problem for Moscow. Other Ukrainian drones have been used to sink or seriously damage Russian warships in the Black Sea, and tanks and armored vehicles have fallen victim to drones on the battlefield.

The attack would also raise new concerns for Russia in protecting bases far from the battlefield.

“This is really a trend that worries Russians,” said Jill Dougherty, a contributor to CNN former head of the network’s Moscow office.

“The Ukrainians are increasingly attacking inside Russia and taking the battle to themselves,” Dougherty said.

After reports of the attack emerged, Russian military bloggers criticized the military for not building hangars to protect the Su-57s, noting that protective hangars could be built at every air base for the price of one Su-57, according to the Institute for the Study of War.

Source: CNN Brasil

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