The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation said that combat-ready aviation on the territory of Ukraine was destroyed, however, part of the forces was relocated to Poland and Romania.
MoD spokesman Igor Konashenkov, said, on Sunday alone, the Russian Aerospace Forces and Air Defense destroyed three Ukrainian Su-27s and three drones. Thus, on Saturday and Sunday, the Ukrainian Air Force lost 11 combat aircraft and two helicopters, as well as attack drones. Taking into account the planes and helicopters already destroyed on the ground and in the air, it can be stated that Kyiv has practically lost all combat-ready aviation.
The Russian military spokesman also warned neighbouring countries not to provide their airfields and aircraft to Ukraine for operations against the Russian Aerospace Forces, as this would be considered an attack on Russia.
“We know for sure about Ukrainian combat aircraft that had previously flown to Romania and other border countries. Please note that the use of the airfield network of these countries for basing Ukrainian military aviation with subsequent use against the Russian armed forces can be regarded as the involvement of these states in an armed conflict,” said Konashenkov.
Earlier, the Russian armed forces launched a high-precision strike on the airfield of the Ukrainian Air Force in Vinnytsia and the airfield in Starokonstantinov. Vinnytsia hosted most of the modern combat aircraft and bombers, as per the Ukrainian Air Force website. Ukraine fielded various modifications of multi-role fighters MiG-29, Su-27, Su-24M front-line bomber and Su-25 attack aircraft. The country had also purchased Bayraktar TB2 drones from Turkey which remained largely ineffective against integrated air defense of Russia.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, on March 6, a Ukrainian airfield in Vinnytsya was put out of action with long-range precision weapons. The base was hit by at least eight cruise missiles. A few hours before the Russian strike, adviser to the head of the Office of the Ukrainian President, Aleksey Arestovich, announced that the Russian Armed Forces had run out of Kaliber missiles.
The sky over Ukraine is now completely dominated by Russia, and there can only be single sorties from airfields in western Ukraine, said Lieutenant General Valery Gorbenko, the former commander of the 4th Air Force and Air Defense forces.
“Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, there were three military districts and three air bases on the territory of Ukraine,” he explained. — There was a very developed airfield network. Therefore, they can still take off single planes. They are being knocked down,” he told Izvestia.
As per Valery Gorbenko, Russian fighter aircraft carry the main burden in the fight against Ukrainian aircraft. “As far as I know, there has not yet been a case of a Ukrainian fighter shooting down or damaging our aircraft. The level of training of our pilots exceeds the Ukrainian one. Their level is comparable to what we had about 20 years ago.”
NATO threat to transfer Polish Aircraft to Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during a video conference with a bipartisan group of senators and members of the US Congress on Saturday, March 5, asked for more military aid to Ukraine, including fighter jets.
It was followed by a statement by some U.S. Congressmen supporting the Biden administration but said getting planes to Ukraine need White House approval and congressional action.
The day after Zelensky’s call, the United States gave the green light to NATO countries if they decide to provide Ukraine with fighter jets.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said at a briefing in Chisinau that the United States was considering options for providing support to Poland in the event of the transfer of aircraft to Ukraine. According to him, Washington held talks with Warsaw on the possible supply by Poland to Kyiv of Soviet-made aircraft, which Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly, in exchange for American F-16 jet fighters.
“We are working with the Poles on this issue and are consulting with the rest of our NATO allies,” the Wall Street Journal quoted the White House official as saying.
But on the same day, late in the evening, Warsaw announced that there would be no deliveries of aircraft to Ukraine.
According to government spokesman Peter Muller, there is currently a discussion about the scope of NATO’s activities. But, as the official noted, this is only a discussion. Decisions regarding the transfer of aircraft to Ukraine have not been made.
The Polish Air Force has several dozen MiG-29 fighters, as well as Su-25 attack aircraft from the Soviet Union era.