According to a Western official quoted in a Reuters report Friday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said Ukraine now routinely demands “kinetic effects” far behind Russia’s lines in the ongoing war that began Feb. 24. This has an impact on Russia’s logistical support, as well as a “significant psychological impact”. effect on the Russian leadership,” the official said.
Newsweek was unable to independently verify Russian aircraft losses and contacted the Russian Ministry of Defense for confirmation and comment.
Saki airfield was hit by a series of explosions on August 9 that the Russian Ministry of Defense attributed to the explosion of aviation munitions. The state-run Ria Novosti news agency reported at the time that one person was killed and several others injured, but Russia denied that any planes were destroyed, according to The Associated Press.
Yet there have been unconfirmed indications that this is not the case.
The British Ministry of Defense said in its August 12 intelligence update that at least five Su-24 FENCER fighter-bombers and three SU-30 FLANKER H multirole jets were “almost certainly destroyed or badly damaged in the explosions” at Saki.
“The loss of eight fighter jets represents a minor proportion of the overall fleet of aircraft Russia has to support the war,” the update said. “However, [Saki] was mainly used as a base for aircraft of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy. The naval aviation capability of the fleet is now significantly degraded.”
The update adds that the blasts “will likely prompt the Russian military to revise its threat perception.”
“Crimea was probably seen as a safe rear area,” he said.
Newsweek was unable to independently verify the information.
Russia annexed Crimea, which is on the northern Black Sea coast, in 2014 and pushed for international recognition that it has been part of Russia ever since. But the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky vowed in a speech Aug. 9 following the explosions that Ukraine would never abandon Crimea.
“This Russian war against Ukraine and against all of free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea – with its liberation,” he said, according to an English translation. “Today it is impossible to say when this will happen. But we are constantly adding the necessary components to the formula of [the] liberation of Crimea.