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Russia destroys more Ukrainian warplanes, ammunition warehouses

Russia says the army has destroyed three Soviet-era warplanes in an operation against a Ukrainian air base in the south of the country. 

The Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday that the warplanes, Su-25 close air support, were stationed at Ukraine’s Voznesensk airfield in Nikolaev Region.

The operation was conducted using tactical aircraft, missile forces and troops’ artillery, the ministry said without providing further details.

The latest operation brought the total number of Ukrainian aircraft to 580, since Russia launched its “special military operation” in the country in February 2022.

The ministry also said that the Russian army destroyed a guidance radar array, a combat control vehicle, three S--300 anti-aircraft missile system launchers and two ammunition warehouses.

They also damaged a storage facility for unmanned aerial vehicles in Ukraine.

According to the statement, the Ukrainian forces and its military equipment were targeted in 126 areas.

In total, Russia has shot down 270 helicopters and 17,951 drones since the start of the war, said the defense ministry.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said late last year that the country’s forces had received new military systems, which at the time allowed them to shoot down 24 Ukrainian planes in just five days.

A report by TASS news agency said later that Russia had used an S-400 Triumph air defense system, which has a 400km range.

Ukraine’s jet fleet is believed to consist mainly of Soviet-era Su-27 and MiG-29 fighters, Su-24 frontline bombers, as well as a handful of Su-25 close air support planes. The country has lost much of its air force during the war with Russia.

Kiev has consistently pursued the acquisition of F-16s from NATO member states, but no deliveries have been made yet.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said earlier this week that the warplanes will appear in skies over Ukraine in midsummer.

Russia has warned the West against sending the nuclear-capable jets to Ukraine, saying the move would be an “unacceptable escalation” of the current conflict.

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