Russia Says It Shot Down Two Ukrainian Jets in 24 Hours

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Russia shot down two Ukrainian jets within a 24-hour window, Moscow said on Sunday, as Ukraine’s hopes of replenishing its air force in the first weeks of the new year fade away.

Russian air-defense systems shot down a Ukrainian Su-25 jet close to the city of Dnipro, and an Su-27 near the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, the Kremlin said in an operational update on Sunday.

Ukraine did not reference any aircraft losses to its own fleet in statements released on Sunday, but it does not typically comment on its own loss of combat planes.

Newyork Verified has reached out to the Ukrainian military for comment via email.

Losing two jets would be a blow to Ukraine’s air force that has weathered almost two years of all-out war against Russia’s newer, superior fleet. At the start of 2023, Ukraine’s air force had 79 combat-capable aircraft, including around 20 Su-25s and 30 Su-27s, according to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Between February 2022 and the beginning of October 2023, Ukraine lost a confirmed 13 Su-27 aircraft and 16 Su-25 jets, according to Dutch open-source outlet, Oryx. However, this does not cover the period after October last year, and only includes visually verified losses.

Ukrainian Su-27 fighters escort an Su-24 bomber (right) on October 12, 2018. Russian air-defense systems shot down a Su-25 jet close to the city of Dnipro, and an Su-27 near the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, the Kremlin said in an operational update on Sunday.
GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images

But Kyiv’s backers have pledged replacement MiG-29 jets from Poland and Slovakia, and Ukraine is waiting on American-made F-16 jets to arrive in the war-torn country.

These advanced jets will boost Ukraine’s ability to contest Russia in the skies and help launch more strikes on key Russian targets. The F-16s are equipped with more modern avionics and radars and are designed to launch the NATO-standard weapons Ukraine has been using with its older, Soviet-era jets.

On Sunday, Danish outlet Berlingske reported that the delivery of the first six Danish F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine would be delayed by up to six months. The jets were originally expected to arrive around the New Year.

“Based on the current timetable, the donation should take place in the second quarter of 2024,” the Danish Defense Ministry said in a statement carried by several media outlets. “It’s mainly an issue of finishing the training of Ukrainian personnel who will operate the planes.”

A spokesperson for the Ukrainian air force appeared to suggest shortly after that Ukraine had received no official confirmation of the reports, and that it expected to receive the jets in the spring.

Newyork Verified has reached out to the Danish Defense Ministry and the Ukrainian air force for comment via email.