Ukraine Strikes Advanced Russian Warplane Using Western-Supplied Weapons

Ukraine Strikes Advanced Russian Warplane Using Western-Supplied Weapons

Moscow - On Sunday, Ukraine reported a successful strike on an advanced Russian warplane stationed nearly 600 kilometers (370 miles) from the front lines, following Western allies' approval for Kyiv to use their weapons for limited strikes inside Russia. Ukraine’s main military intelligence service shared satellite photos showing the aftermath, marking the first known successful attack on a Su-57 fighter plane, Moscow’s most advanced military aircraft.

The attack took place on Saturday at the Akhtubinsk base in southern Russia, 589 kilometers (366 miles) from the front line, according to Ukraine's Main Intelligence Directorate. The distance suggests that drones were likely used in the strike. Photos showed black soot marks and small craters around the aircraft.

This strike follows recent authorizations by the United States and Germany allowing Ukraine to target some locations on Russian soil using long-range weapons supplied by these countries. Under newly approved guidelines from President Joe Biden, American arms can be used for the limited purpose of defending Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city. Ukraine has already employed U.S. weapons to strike targets within Russia.

The Su-57, capable of carrying stealth missiles over long distances, is a rare asset in Moscow's arsenal. Russian reports indicate that Moscow acquired "more than 10" new Su-57s last year, with plans to produce 76 by 2028. Russia’s Defense Ministry has not commented on the Ukrainian strike but claimed its forces downed three Ukrainian drones in the Astrakhan region, where the Akhtubinsk airstrip is located.

Since Russia's full-scale invasion over two years ago, Ukraine has increased domestic drone production, using them to strike deep inside Russia, including a gas terminal near St. Petersburg, over 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) north of the Ukrainian border. Ukrainian forces have also maintained drone attacks on Russia's southern border regions. Late on Saturday, three drones hit Belgorod province, damaging infrastructure but causing no casualties. Additional drones and a Ukrainian-made missile were intercepted over the region on Sunday, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Meanwhile, Russian shelling across Ukraine’s front-line provinces killed at least three civilians and wounded nine others from Saturday into Sunday. In Khotimlya, east of Kharkiv, a man was killed and two women injured, with significant damage reported to local infrastructure.

Intense battles continue as Ukrainian forces resist a Russian offensive in the Kharkiv region. Russia’s coordinated attacks also test Ukrainian defenses in the Donetsk region and involve incursions in the northern Sumy and Chernihiv regions.

The approval to use Western weapons across the border aims to help Ukraine protect Kharkiv by targeting Russian capabilities. However, this move has sparked a furious response from Moscow, warning of potential escalation involving NATO. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, defended the decision as "common sense," emphasizing the need for Ukraine to defend itself against direct Russian offensives from across the border.

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