WASHINGTON — US experts suggest that Moscow may seek help from Beijing. I.e. leasing or buying Chinese fighter jets. Journalist Peter Suciu writes that such a possibility exists, but is unlikely to happen. However, he recalls in his article that Russian attack helicopters and aircraft have been training jointly with their Chinese counterparts. It is about the “Vostok-2022” military exercise. Suciu did not rule out the possibility that Moscow used the exercise to negotiate with Beijing for the lease or sale of Chinese fighter jets.
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There is already evidence that Moscow is buying weapons. Iranian drones bought and delivered to Russia is already old news. Just a few days ago, it was confirmed that Russia is buying medium-range missiles from North Korea. Some of these missiles, experts say, are old Soviet ones. I.e. Moscow is buying back its manufactured weapons.
In addition to the possible acquisition of Chinese aircraft, Suciu suggests, although it is not clear, that the Russian pilots and equipment involved in the joint Russian-Chinese exercise may be the next to be sent to the front.
Russia is losing fighter jets
Russia is losing many fighter jets in the war with Ukraine. The expected air superiority did not materialize. There are impressive accounts from Ukraine of Ukrainian soldiers about the fighters they shot down. Although, they cannot be confirmed, the stories are fact, and have become legends.
For example, Yaroslav Melnyk, commander of the Bus-M1 anti-aircraft missile battery, claimed to have shot down 11 fighters, two helicopters, two missiles and 13 unmanned aerial vehicles.
Even more incredible is his story that he shot down a Russian fighter without firing a missile. According to him, the Buk-M1 was not yet fully deployed and they only used the system’s radars to target the Russian fighter. This led to a sharp maneuver by the Russian pilot, who assumed that a missile had already been fired at him, causing him to lose control of the aircraft and crash. “He realized he had turned from hunter to target,” Melnyk explained. “It probably stunned the pilot so much that he ejected immediately. The plane crashed.”
Another incredible story comes from a Ukrainian pensioner who “had shot down a Su-34 with only a rifle”. There is no confirmation of this incident, but this did not prevent the Ukrainian military from awarding the Ukrainian pensioner with a medal for “heroism”.
Losses are a fact
Despite the incredible stories, the losses of the Russian Air Force in Ukraine are a fact. Outside of the amazing stories, we have repeatedly shared information about downed Russian Su-34 fighter jets. The Su-25 and Su-24 were most often hit, and so far there is evidence of at least three Su-35 fighters being shot down.
Last but not least, the attack on the Saki air base in Crimea dealt a serious blow to the Russian Air Force. Just because of the attack and in just one day, Russia lost eight Su-37 fighters, four Su-30 fighter-bombers, five Su-24 bombers, six Mi-8 helicopters and one IL-20 telemetry aircraft.
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