Russian fighter jet mistakenly downed over Crimea

In a recent incident indicating a heightened state of combat readiness, a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet was mistakenly downed by Russian forces over Crimea, as reported by Ukraine. The mishap occurred over the annexed peninsula, with Ukraine‘s Navy spokesman, Dmytro Pletenchuk, emphasizing the role of “the human factor” where an operator, driven by the prospect of receiving a medal, failed to verify the aircraft’s allegiance.

The incident was initially reported by Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Moscow-appointed leader in Sevastopol, who mentioned that a Russian warplane “crashed” off the Crimean coast. He confirmed that the pilot had safely ejected and was subsequently rescued. Footage shared on Russian Telegram channels depicted the aircraft ablaze during its descent, along with the pilot’s parachute, according to a Newsweek report.

The Crimean Wind Telegram channel suggested that the aircraft was accidentally shot down after departing from the Belbek military airfield. Pletenchuk’s confirmation on television reinforced the narrative that the aircraft was indeed Russian and was destroyed by friendly fire due to an overzealous operator’s mistake.

This incident adds to a series of aircraft losses for Russia‘s Air Force, which has experienced significant setbacks, including the loss of over a dozen warplanes, such as Su-34 fighter bombers and Su-35 fighter jets, over the past two months.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is poised to enhance its aviation capabilities with the expected arrival of F-16 fighter jets from its allies, marking a technological advancement from the Soviet-era aircraft currently in use.

(With inputs from TOI)

William Murphy

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