Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
This is the ‘Top Gun’ moment Russian pilots carry out combat operations against Ukrainian targets as the invasion enters its 111th day.
The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the pilots of the Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jets successfully destroyed the enemy targets.
The MoD said in a statement on 14th June: “Attack aviation crews carried out air strikes on military facilities and equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Missile launches were carried out in pairs at low altitudes.
“As a result of the combat use of aviation weapons, camouflaged fortified field positions and armoured vehicles of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were destroyed.
“After the sorties, the engineering and technical staff completed the tasks of servicing aircraft and preparing aviation equipment for a second combat raid.”
Russian troops invaded Ukraine on 24th February in what the Kremlin is still calling a “special military operation”. Today marks the 111th day of the campaign.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between 24th February and 14th June, Russia had lost 32,500 personnel, 1,434 tanks, 3,503 armoured fighting vehicles, 721 artillery systems, 229 multiple launch rocket systems, 97 anti-aircraft systems, 213 warplanes, 179 helicopters, 2,473 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, 13 warships/boats, 588 drones, 54 pieces of special equipment and 125 cruise missiles.
All the bridges to the besieged Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk have reportedly been destroyed, the local governor, Serhiy Haidai, has said. Ukrainian forces there are now cut off from any possible retreat and fierce street-to-street fighting is taking place in the city, which has been the focus of Russian artillery fire for weeks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian attacks on the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk have turned them into “dead cities”. An aide to President Zelenskyy has said that Ukraine is losing up to 200 troops a day.
President Zelenskyy has repeatedly asked for additional weapons from Ukraine’s allies.
The United Kingdom and the United States have said they are sending long-range missile systems to Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned of more attacks in Ukraine if the West sends long-range weapons.
Ukrainian officials have said that weapons are not arriving fast enough. An adviser to President Zelenskyy, Mykhailo Podolyak, has said that to end the war, they need “1,000 howitzers calibre 155 mm; 300 MLRS; 500 tanks; 2,000 armoured vehicles; 1,000 drones”.
Podolyak added: “Contact Group of Defence Ministers meeting is held in Brussels on June 15. We are waiting for a decision.”
President Putin has said that the West will not be able to wean itself off from Russian oil and gas for years.
The European Parliament has adopted a resolution recommending that the European Union grant Ukraine the status of candidate country for EU membership. Some 438 MEPs voted in favour of the resolution, with 65 voting against and 94 abstaining.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Turkey has raised legitimate concerns in its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining the alliance and that talks to find a solution would continue.