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- Four Russian aircraft have been shot down near the Ukrainian border, per a Russian news outlet.
- It may be the most Russian aircraft lost in a single day during the war, a pro-Russia blog said.
- Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attack.
Two Russian fighter jets and two military helicopters have been shot down in Russia near the Ukrainian border, Russian news outlet Kommersant reported.
The outlet said that one Su-34 fighter-bomber, a Su-35 fighter, and two Mi-8 helicopters had been shot down in Russia’s Bryansk region, killing all four crews.
The “air group most likely fell into an air ambush,” said Kommersant.
The jets were supposed to launch a coordinated missile and bomb attack on Ukraine’s Chernihiv region, while the helicopters were there to provide support and to pick up Su crews if they were shot down, the outlet reported, citing preliminary data.
Kommersant did not provide evidence that the four aircraft had been downed, but several Russian pro-war military bloggers made the same claim, Reuters reported.
Regional Russian authorities have confirmed the crash of one helicopter, per Russian state news agency Tass.
Footage circulating on social media appears to show the helicopter catching fire and falling from the sky. Insider was not able to independently verify the videos.
—Rob Lee (@RALee85) May 13, 2023
The governor of Russia’s Bryansk region, Alexander Bogomaz, said that five houses were damaged and a woman was injured due to the helicopter crash in the town of Klintsy.
—Special Kherson Cat 🐈🇺🇦 (@bayraktar_1love) May 13, 2023
Russian military bloggers and aviation experts have speculated that the aircraft had either been caught by friendly fire or shot down by Ukraine, according to The Telegraph.
A pro-Russia Telegram channel with close links to Russia’s air force, called Fighterbomber, said it was the highest number of Russian aircraft lost in a single day “since March last year.”
Ukraine has not officially commented on the reports, but Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tweeted that the aircraft were downed by “unidentified persons,” adding that it was “instant karma.”
Since the war began, there have been several mysterious explosions on air bases inside Russia, with analysts suggesting Ukraine could have used long-range weapons.
Western allies like the US and the UK have asked Ukraine for assurances that their donated weapons would only be used to strike targets within Ukraine and not inside Russia.