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Russia strikes Ukrainian pilot training hub

A missile barrage was launched at the site from the Black Sea

Russian forces struck a training center for Ukrainian pilots with long-range missiles on Sunday morning, the Russian Defense Ministry has said in a statement. The barrage was one of a series of devastating attacks the ministry claimed were carried across the entire Ukrainian front line.

“This morning, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation launched a group strike with high-precision, long-range, sea-based weapons at the training site for flight and technical personnel of the Ukrainian Air Force,” the ministry’s statement read. “All designated targets were hit,” the statement added.

The ministry did not specify where the strike took place. However, Russian forces regularly use missiles and drones to attack military airfields and troop concentrations deep behind Ukrainian lines.

As Kiev has not yet received any Western fighter jets, Ukraine typically stations its Soviet-era MiG-29 and Su-27 fighters at these airfields. 

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Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway have all pledged to supply Ukraine with a total of 85 F-16 fighters, and Ukrainian pilots are currently being trained on these American jets in the US, Denmark, and Romania. French President Emmanuel Macron has also promised to supply Ukraine with Mirage 2000 fighter jets.

Moscow has vowed to destroy these Western fighters on the tarmac in Ukraine. State Duma Defense Committee Chairman Andrey Kartapolov warned earlier this month that foreign airfields would also be considered “legitimate targets” if such facilities are used to carry out sorties and strikes against Russian forces.

“As for [our ability] to shoot [them] down, we can shoot down anyone, anywhere,” the MP added.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has also warned that Moscow would perceive the deliveries of F-16 fighters to Ukraine as a nuclear threat, given that the jets have long been used as part of NATO’s joint nuclear missions. 

Between Saturday and Sunday, Russian forces engaged Ukrainian targets along the entire front line, from Kharkov Region in the northeast to Kherson in the south. The Ukrainian military lost more than 1,900 troops in 24 hours, the ministry said, along with dozens of military vehicles and artillery pieces.

June 24, 2024 at 02:03AM

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