Video has shown Ukrainian troops shooting down a Russian fighter jet out of the sky, capturing a top army officer and pounding enemy positions with helicopters, in further blows to Vladimir Putin’s on-going invasion.
The developments were reported by several sources, including a pro-Russian telegram channel, which also lamented the success of Kyiv’s counter attacks that have begun to gather pace in recent days.
Britain’s defence ministry said there has been heavy fighting on three fronts: in the north, near Kharkiv; in the east in the Donbas; and in the south in Kherson Oblast – where Ukraine has mounted a counteroffensive to try to retake occupied territory.
Footage emerged on Wednesday that appeared to show the moment the Russian warplane was shot down over a field in Ukraine.
The Su-25 ground attack aircraft was hit while flying low past a man-portable air defence missile (MANPAD), according to Kyiv’s south operational command.
Another video showed Ukrainian helicopters soaring over a road running between parched fields, and launching rocket strikes on enemy positions in a tree line.
This video (pictured) has shown the moment a Russian warplane was shot down over Ukraine
The video of the Su-25 being taken down was issued by Anatoliy Shtefan, an officer of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The jet can be seen flying into the frame of the video from the right – with a second aircraft flying closely behind it. The first aircraft is visible losing altitude.
Excitement builds among those filming the plan as it comes down, and disappears behind a tree line. At this point in the footage, the jet smashes into the ground and bounces – like a skimming stone across a pond – along the earth.
A voice believed to be from the Ukrainian military is heard saying ‘Yes, yes…’ in accented English and then in Russian: ‘Fell down’.
The wrecked jet can be seen leaving a smoke trail as it skims into the distance.
Russian sources said that the pilot successfully ejected and was evacuated. However, there was no proof of this.
According to the latest figures released by Ukraine’s military today, Russia has lost a total of 237 warplanes, 208 helicopters and 880 drones.
At the start of the war, analysts feared Russia’s air superiority would result in a swift victory for Putin and Moscow. However, this superiority never materialised, with Ukraine deploying effective air defences – downing several Russian fighter jets.
Instead, Russia has largely resorted to using missile and artillery strikes deep into Ukrainian territory – a tactic which Kyiv has been able to counter with its own strikes in recent months, pushing Russian positions back.
The Su-25 ground attack aircraft was hit while flying at low altitude past a man-portable air defence missile, according to Kyiv’s south operational command. Pictured: Smoke can be seen in the distance from the fighter jet after it was brought down
The location of the Su-25 downing is believed to be near Volokhov Yar, in the Chuhuiv district of Kharkiv region, where fighting is intense.
The Su-25 is designed to provide direct support to ground troops over the battlefield. A total of 16 Russian Su-25s are believed to have been destroyed since Vladimir Putin ordered his troops in Ukraine on February 24.
In a separate video, captured by a drone and posted to social media, two Ukrainian helicopters were shown launching rockets against enemy positions.
In a lightning quick attack, the choppers were seen flying over the roofs of a small settlement, and out over dry fields separated by a road. The video, shot from above, showed a copse of trees left of the helicopters, and beyond that a small lake.
The helicopters fired off several rockets into the trees at targets hiding amongst them, before setting off anti-missile flares and flying back the way they came – without a scratch.
The footage was captured in Verkhnokamyanske, a small town on the border between Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast, which are both part of the Russian-occupied eastern Donbas region of Ukraine.
A pro-Russian telegram channel with links to the Russian mercenary Wagner Group appeared to confirm the downing of the Su-25 in a post on Wednesday, and said that other planes had also been shot down in the last week by Kyiv’s forces.
In a separate video two Ukrainian helicopters (one of which is shown in this still grab) were shown launching rockets against enemy positions in a tree line in Verkhnokamyanske, a small settlement on the border between Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast
The helicopters fired off several rockets into the trees at targets hiding amongst them, before setting off anti-missile flares and flying back the way they came
It also said Ukraine had destroyed a position where a Russian S-300 air defence system was located, and that footage of Russian prisoners – including a ‘lieutenant colonel of the Russian Armed Forces’ – was circulating online.
In the update on Wednesday, Telegram channel ‘The Grey Zone’ warned its followers to not ‘expect good news today’.
‘The enemy reports with video confirmation that the Su-25 of the Russian Air Force was shot down with MANPADS. Our side reports that, fortunately, the pilot survived and was evacuated,’ the post’s author said.
‘Unfortunately, this is not the only loss in aviation during the week, for example, over the Zaporizhye region, a video confirmation of the downing of a Mi-28 and a Ka-52 of the Russian Air Force over the Kherson region was reported, although video confirmation of the latter has not yet been received,’ it added.
The post went on to tell its followers that Ukrainian counterattacks around Balakleya – in the northern region of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region – were making advances.
‘With video confirmation, information appeared that special units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine entered the highway near Volkhov Yar,’ the channel said.
‘There was a video of the destruction of the positional area of the Russian S-300 air defense system, with ammunition detonating. A video with prisoners, including a lieutenant colonel of the Russian Armed Forces, possibly the LDNR, is circulating.’
The footage mentioned in the Telegram post of Russian prisoners showed Ukrainian soldiers standing along a forest road, with Russian soldiers kneeling on the floor, their hands tied behind their banks.
One of the prisoner’s faces was covered in blood.
Pictured: Footage purporting to show Russian prisoners detained by Ukrainian troops in the Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine
In addition to Russia’s air losses, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported today that since February 24, Russia has lost about 50,610 personnel, 2,097 tanks, 4,520 armoured combat vehicles, 1,194 artillery units, 300 multiple launch rocket systems , 214 cruise missiles, 15 warships, 3,320 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 109 units of special equipment.
Russia has claimed that its casualties have been much lower but provides infrequent updates on its latest figures.
On Monday, a Ukrainian government agency said a pensioner who shot down a Russian Su-34 jet with a rifle – sending it spiralling to the ground – was being honoured for his ‘heroism’ and awarded him a medal.
Valeriy Fedorovych opened fire when the enemy aircraft flew overhead in Chernhiv, according to the State Border Service of Ukraine.
He was praised for his ‘assistance in the protection of the state border’.
It is claimed he picked off the jet, which costs an estimated £74million, and footage circulating at the time showed it careening back down to earth, although he was not seen in the video.
Footage shared by the agency shows Fedorovych walking with a rifle slung over his shoulder through the city mostly destroyed by Russian bombardment.
He retrieved some of the debris of the ‘exploded’ jet and keeps it in his garage.
Footage shows a plane hurtling towards the ground after it was shot by Ukrainian pensioner Valeriy Fedorovych, Ukraine’s border service said
Valeriy Fedorovych opened fire when an enemy aircraft flew overhead in Chernhiv, the State Border Service of Ukraine said, and took it out of the skies
On Wednesday, heavy fighting was reported on three fronts: in the north, near the city of Kharkiv; in the east, in the industrial Donbas region of mines and factories; and in the south, in the Kherson region, where Ukraine has mounted a counteroffensive to try to retake territory seized by the Russians early in the war.
Ukrainian forces have taken control of an unspecified number of towns in the Kherson region, military spokesperson Nataliya Humenyuk said.
The eastern city of Sloviansk came under Russian fire on Wednesday morning, and a school and another building were damaged, according to the head of the city administration, Vadym Lyakh.
The U.K. defence ministry confirmed the fighting on the three fronts.
Amid a Ukrainian counterattack in the east, ‘multiple concurrent threats spread across 500 kilometers (310 miles) will test Russia’s ability to coordinate operational design and reallocate resources across multiple groupings of forces,’ the ministry said Wednesday.
Elsewhere, Russia resumed shelling near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, a local official said Wednesday, a day after the U.N. atomic watchdog agency pressed for the warring sides to carve out a safe zone there to prevent a catastrophe.
The city of Nikopol, on the opposite bank of the Dnieper River from Europe’s largest nuclear plant, was fired on with rockets and heavy artillery, regional Gov. Valentyn Reznichenko said. The report could not independently verified.
‘There are fires, blackouts and other things at the (plant) that force us to prepare the local population for the consequences of the nuclear danger,’ Reznichenko said. Officials in recent days have distributed iodine pills to residents to help protect them in the event of a radiation leak.
The fighting going on around the plant has caused international alarm.
A service member of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic fires a Giatsint-B howitzer in the direction of Avdiivka during Russia-Ukraine conflict, outside Donetsk, September 7
The head of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, warned the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that ‘something very, very catastrophic could take place’ at Zaporizhzhia. The IAEA urged Russia and Ukraine to establish a ‘nuclear safety and security protection zone’ around the plant.
The fear is that the fighting could trigger a disaster on the scale of the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986.
Neither Moscow nor Kiev officials would immediately commit to the idea of a safety zone, saying more details of the proposal were needed.
Because of damage from the fighting, the plant is generating electricity only to power its safety systems, a senior Ukrainian official said. The plant normally relies on external power to run the systems that keep the reactor cores cool and prevent them from melting down.
Any further disruption of power could force the plant to use back-up diesel generators, but that would entail bringing four diesel trucks a day through the fighting, said Oleh Korikov, Ukraine’s acting chief inspector for nuclear and radiation safety.
‘We could potentially be in a situation where we run out of diesel,’ he said. ‘And this can lead to an accident with damage to the active zone of the reactors and, accordingly, the release of radioactive products into the environment.’
The plant also had to activate its diesel generators late last month because of damage, according to Ukrainian authorities.
Authorities could consider shutting down the plant, Korikov said, without offering details about how that would work.
A damaged car and building are seen after shelling during the Russia-Ukraine war in Kharkiv, Ukraine on September 7, 2022
The plant’s operator, Energoatom, said that despite the shelling, Ukrainian staff still working at the Russian-occupied plant will try in the coming days to restore the supply of external power through at least one of the seven outside lines.
In other developments, Russian President Vladimir Putin defied pressure to halt the war, saying Moscow will forge ahead with its offensive in Ukraine until it achieves its goals. He mocked Western attempts to stop Russia with sanctions.
Firefighters dug deep into the smoldering rubble of an apartment building and removed at least one body. Chunks of bricks, masonry and concrete lay among torn tree branches, broken glass and roof tiles. Metal doors, buckled by the force of the blast, hung off their hinges.
The strike came at around 4 a.m., said resident Raisa Smelkova, 75, who lives in another part of the building. She and her husband were unhurt. The couple lived through the fighting in Ukraine in 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimea region.
‘What is happening now is not just scary, it’s gruesome,’ she said. ‘There is more destruction. Everything is worse. Just everything.’
The Russian military held large-scale military drills that began last week and ended Wednesday in the country’s east that involved forces from China.
It was seen as another show of increasingly close ties between Moscow and Beijing amid tensions with the West over the war.