Ukrainian officials and commanders announced that their forces shot down three Russian Su-34 bombers in the southern region.
“Three Russian Su-34 bombers were shot down in the southern region this afternoon,” Lieutenant General Mykola Oleschuk, commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, announced on December 22. General Oleschuk did not detail the location of the three Russian Su-34s and the type of weapon Ukraine used to take them down.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security Council, said on the same day that the country’s military has been conducting a campaign to hunt down Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers for a long time. “These planes pose a danger to Ukrainian soldiers,” Mr. Danilov said. Russia has not commented on the above information.
Ukrainian officials on the same day said that the country’s air defense downed 24 out of 28 Russian Geran series unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in a night raid. They said more than 20 Russian UAVs targeted the capital Kyiv, injuring two people and damaging several apartment buildings.
Russian forces also targeted port infrastructure in southern Ukraine. The Southern Command of the Ukrainian army said the downed UAV debris fell on an agricultural warehouse in Odesa province and caused a fire, which was later extinguished.
Russia has recently deployed Su-34 fighter-bombers many times to attack the positions of Ukrainian forces. The UMPK-guided bomb carried by the Su-34 can fly 50-70 km away. The Ukrainian Air Force has admitted that it has no measures to deal with this type of bomb.
The Su-34 fighter bomber was born in the Soviet era and put into service with the Russian Air Force in 2014. It is currently one of Russia’s main fighter jets on the Ukrainian battlefield. The Su-34 mainly performs bombing missions and launches guided missiles against fixed enemy targets.
When carrying three tons of bombs, four air-to-air missiles and an extra oil tank, the Su-34 reaches a flight range of nearly 3,000 km at high altitude, or 1,700 km when flying close to the ground and sea surface.
The long flight range and large weapon load allow the Su-34 to carry out its main mission of attacking command posts, communications and logistics deep inside the enemy, as well as cutting off supply lines for forward forces.