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Oleksandr Kovalenko: Russian Aviation Is In Stalemate

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Oleksandr Kovalenko: Russian Aviation Is In Stalemate

The Ukrainian forces have a "long reach".

A real "aircraft flurry" began at the front in Ukraine. On February 26, the Ukrainian military shot down another Russian Su-34 aircraft, and on February 23, a Russian A-50U aircraft was shot down over the Sea of Azov. In addition, on February 19, the Ukrainian forces shot down two more Russian aircraft in the east.

Oleksandr Kovalenko gave an interview to Charter97.org. The Ukrainian military and political observer from the Information Resistance Group spoke about the success of the Ukrainian Air Force:

— This is a kind of "long reach", the A-50 was destroyed at a 250 kilometers distance from the conflict line. The Su-34s have been falling for the last week and a half somewhere within 100 kilometers of the front line. All facts indicate that there is a certain long-range weapon that successfully destroys this enemy aircraft. Which one? While there were no official reports, only assumptions were made.

— Should we wait for a change of tactics on the part of the Russians? Will they start hiding their aircraft?

— No, you shouldn't wait for that. We see that the Russians simply cannot afford it, they really have a limited number of carriers. If we talk, for example, about theSu-34, a carrier of the KAB bombs, and the A-50 reconnaissance aircraft of the early warning radar detection, they have a limited number of these aircraft, especially the A-50s.

Russian troops cannot fully function without them. Without the Su-34, they cannot open Ukrainian fortified areas where the mass use of KABs is necessary. Without the A-50, they cannot receive enough intelligence information both on the situation in the airspace of Ukraine and to correct their tactical aviation strikes with cruise missiles. These aircraft are even needed to support the air defence system.

Understanding how high the risk of destroying each of these aircraft is, the Russians will still use them, this is a stalemate. They cannot change their routes enough to be safe, since a safe route for them is a few hundred kilometers from the border with Ukraine. The Russians will operate in those areas in which it is possible to collect the maximum intelligence information, and in those areas in which the Su-34 can be used.

— In recent days, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have already destroyed nine Russian aircraft. If this continues, how will it affect the balance of forces at the front?

— Pretty serious. If the A-50s are shot down with the same frequency, then at some point Russia will lose all of them since they can not produce them. If we are talking about the Su-34, then at some point Russia will be left without front-line bomber-fighter aircraft.

The Russians will have to replace these aircraft with something, for example — more outdated types like the Su-24, front-line bombers of the Soviet period, or even the Su-30. Perhaps they will even use the Su-35 for this purpose. They will have to switch to more vulnerable aviation. For example, the same Su-24 or Su-30 are more vulnerable than the Su-34. Accordingly, they will be downed more.

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