Russian state media on Saturday reported that two fighter jets and two military helicopters had been shot down within their own borders.
According to media reports, Russia lost two Mi-8 Hip helicopters, a Su-34 Fullback fighter bomber, and a modern Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jet, with no survivors.
“According to preliminary data … the fighters were supposed to deliver a missile and bomb attack on targets in the Chernihiv region of Ukraine, and the helicopters were there to back them up – among other things to pick up the ‘Su’ crews if they were shot down,” multiple news outlets reported.
All four aircraft came down in the Bryansk region, well within Russian territory opposite northeast Ukraine’s Chernihiv region.
The Ukrainian military refused to comment on the matter.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, wrote in a tweet that the Russian aircraft had intended to launch a “missile-bomb attack” on Ukraine’s Chernihiv region but were “destroyed by ‘unidentified persons’”, which he described as “instant karma”.
“’Killers on wings’ were destroyed BEFORE the next crime would be committed,” he wrote.
Russian military analysts claimed that the Russian Air Force had one of its worst days of the war in more than a year on Saturday.
Russian Telegram channel Voyenniy Osvedomitel said it appeared that “most likely, the enemy staged an ambush with air defenses previously transferred to a border zone close enough to hit our group”.
It also added that one of the downed helicopters appeared to be a Mi-8MTPR-1 electronic warfare craft able to jam enemy radio and target signals.