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Mounting Losses In Ukraine’s Aerial Conflict

Photo by Richard R. Schünemann on Unsplash

Despite having one of the world’s most advanced air forces, Russia has failed to achieve air superiority over the much smaller and less well-equipped Ukrainian Air Force.

Ukraine won support Tuesday from Baltic nations and Poland in its quest to obtain Western fighter jets. Still, there were no signs that larger nations like the U.S. and Britain have changed their stance of refusing to provide the warplanes to Kyiv after almost a year of battling Russia’s invading forces, according to AP.

Several Western leaders have expressed concern that providing warplanes could escalate the conflict and draw them deeper into the war. Such fighter jets would offer Ukraine a major boost, but countering Russia’s massive air force would still be a major challenge.

Switching to Western aircraft would require Ukrainian crews to undergo long training and raise logistical challenges linked to their maintenance and repair.

Russia methodically targeted Ukrainian air bases and air defense batteries in the opening stage of the conflict, but Ukraine has been smart about relocating its warplanes and concealing air defense assets, resulting in Russia’s failure to gain full control of the skies.

After suffering heavy losses early during the conflict, the Russian air force has avoided venturing deep into Ukraine’s airspace and mostly focused on close support missions along the frontline.

The Ukrainian air force faced similar challenges, trying to save its remaining warplanes from being hit by Russian fighter jets and air defense systems, AP said.