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Six Russian fighter jets 'shot down' in three days but it 'prevails in air' to make frontline Ukraine gains

Six Russian fighter jets 'shot down' in three days but it 'prevails in air' to make frontline Ukraine gains

Six Russian fighter jets were shot down in three days as its air force flew missions to “prevail in the air” to make frontline gains in Ukraine, say defence experts.

Military analsyts said Vladimir Putin’s military “appear to have temporarily established limited and localized air superiority” around the city of Avdiivka in the eastern Donetsk province which it had captured.

Denys Shmyhal, Ukraine’s Prime Minister, stressed that his country needs more long-range missiles, for air defence against Russia on the frontline, and other ammunition to end Putin’s invasion. which is set to enter its third year.

“Unfortunately, now they prevail in the air and unfortunately this leads to some consequences from the frontline, but I should say that we have no refuses from our partners to supply military equipment to Ukraine,” he explained.

He said he expects a huge US aid package that’s stalled in Congress to be delivered.

Ukraine has modern equipment, training soldiers and fighting at NATO standards and that “European countries and the United States are supporting us, absolutely,” Mr Shmyhal added speaking at a news conference the day after he attended a conference in Tokyo on reconstructing Ukraine.

In its latest briefing on the conflict, the Institute for The Study of War listed six Russian aircraft reported to have been downed in recent days.

The Washington-based think tank tweeted: “Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian forces shot down two more Russian fighter aircraft, a Su-34 and a Su-35S, in eastern Ukraine on the morning of February 19.

“Ukrainian forces also shot down two Su-34s and one Su-35 over Donetsk Oblast (province) on February 17 and another Su-34 in eastern Ukraine on February 18.”

The ISW update added: “Russian forces appear to have temporarily established limited and localized air superiority during the final days of their offensive operation to seize Avdiivka, but Ukrainian air defenders appear to be challenging Russian air operations in eastern Ukraine once again.”

The United States has provided Ukraine with about $111 billion (£88 billion), largely in weapons but also equipment and humanitarian assistance, and a new aid package of $95 billion (£75 billion) is stalled in Congress after passing the Senate.

When Ukraine begins fielding F-16 fighter jets later this year, “we will balance the situation on the battlefield and it will be much easier for us,” said Mr Shmyhal.

But currently, with the ongoing shortage of long-range artillery and missile equipment, “if it will be stopped, if it will be delayed, this is the main danger for us on the battlefield.”

Britain, the US and other allies are training Ukrainian pilots on the jets.

Russia launched 23 drones at Ukraine overnight with its air defences destroying all of them, the Ukrainian military said on Tuesday.

“As a result of combat operations, all 23 “shahids” drones were shot down in Kharkiv, Poltava, Kirovohrad, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson and Mykolaiv regions,” the military said.