A video on Kremlin-backed media has tried to highlight how Russia’s air force can deal with an imminent offensive from Kyiv’s forces.
A four-minute video for state news agency RIA Novosti starts with an unnamed man on an airstrip showing off a grounded Sukhoi-25 jet. He describes it as one “of the leading attack aircraft” of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS).
On the side of the plane is the letter Z, the symbol of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, painted in white.
Interspersed with moody music and interior shots, the narrator said how such aircraft had conducted more than 20,000 sorties over the last year and could be armed with missiles and aerial bombs. Among their tasks was to target armored vehicles and enemy manpower, as well striking at command posts and fortified areas.
The clip then segues into a pilot wearing a helmet who approaches the aircraft. There are then shots from the cockpit showing it in flight conducting mid-air maneuvers. On the ground, rendered anonymous by his helmet, the pilot explains how he and his comrades “work with various missiles such as the S-8, S-13, S-24 and S-25.”
The man said the planes could handle dealing with attacks from Ukrainian troops firing man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS). Explaining how he had conducted around 180 sorties since September, he added that “if all the necessary parameters are met, the missiles fall exactly on target.”
“We know that the enemy is preparing a counteroffensive on all fronts. We will wait for them, we are ready,” the narrator said. “We won’t let them through our borders.”
Newsweek has emailed the Russian defense ministry for comment.
Last week, Ukraine’s top ground-forces commander Oleksandr Syrsky said his forces would soon begin a counteroffensive that would follow an ongoing fierce fight for Bakhmut.
On Wednesday, Ukraine’s defense ministry said Russian forces had carried out attacks on eight Ukrainian regions over the previous day in the east, south and north of the country.
The update said that around 100 Ukrainian settlements were struck by mortars, tanks, artillery, S-300 missiles, multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), drones, and tactical aviation. There were 19 infrastructure facilities hit in the strikes, the update added.
British defense officials also said on Wednesday that Ukraine’s military had likely pushed back the Wagner Group mercenaries fighting for Moscow for the Donetsk oblast city of Bakhmut.
The U.K. Ministry of Defense said that Russian assaults on Bakhmut were at “a reduced level” compared with recent weeks. Meanwhile, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S. think tank, said on Tuesday that Wagner troops had likely seized the AZOM industrial complex in the north of the city.
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