VIDEO: Major Setbacks for Russian Forces

Smoke rises on the site of a helicopter crash in the town of Klintsy in the Bryansk Region, Russia, in this still image taken from a video released May 13, 2023. | Image by Ostorozhno Novosti, Handout via REUTERS

In a recent turn of events in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, unconfirmed reports emerged of two Russian jets and two military helicopters crashing on the Russian side on Saturday.

If true, the loss of four Russian aircraft in just one day would mark the single worst day for the country since its invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.

Several videos appearing to show the downed aircraft have circulated on social media.

Kommersant, an independent Russian news website, reported that a Su-34 fighter bomber, a Su-35 fighter jet, and two Mi-8 helicopters were “shot down almost simultaneously” in a possible ambush in the Bryansk region of Russia, which shares a border with northeast Ukraine.

It is believed that these aircraft were all part of the same unit intended to carry out an attack near the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv. The airmen are presumed dead.

The day before the crashes, Russia’s private Wagner mercenary group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said that its forces were losing their grip on Bakhmut, according to The Moscow Times.

“The flanks are failing. The front is collapsing,” reported Prigozhin, according to The Moscow Times.

Video footage of alleged Russian soldiers fleeing the city circulated on social media.

As The Dallas Express previously reported, one of the bloodiest battles in the conflict so far has been the months-long stalemate in Bakhmut. Eventually, the Russians managed to overtake the city.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov claimed that Russian forces were not retreating but rather regrouping northwest of the city to better take on a Ukrainian offensive of over 1,000 troops and as many as 40 tanks, according to France 24.

This past weekend Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made surprise visits to several capitals of Europe in an effort to drum up more military support, according to his office.

While in Germany, he told reporters that Ukraine’s military objectives were solely to regain its lost territory, not to wage war in Russia.

“We have neither the time nor the strength [to lead an attack on Russia],” Zelenskyy said, according to AP News. “And we also don’t have weapons to spare, with which we could do this.”

A similar response was recently provided when the Kremlin accused Ukraine of attempting to kill Russian President Vladimir Putin in a drone strike earlier this month, as The Dallas Express reported.

Ukrainian officials have also not claimed responsibility for the Russian planes and helicopters downed on Saturday.

Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian air force, said the following day that the raiding party “ran into some trouble” on their way “to bomb our civilians, our peaceful people,” according to CNN.

This is not the first attack near Bryansk blamed on Ukrainian forces, who were equipped with MiG-29 fighter jets, as well as defensive and offensive rocket systems by its allies in preparation for its counteroffensive aiming to punch through the Russian front line, as The Dallas Express reported.

The crashes of four aircraft in one day without outside intervention seemed unlikely to experts, according to CNN. Some suggested that Ukrainian air defenses may be approaching the border since the Russian air force tends to launch attacks from as great a distance from their targets as possible.

No matter how the aircraft went down, the past few days have seen a number of setbacks for the Russian forces.

For Ukraine, on the other hand, things might be turning a corner.

France and Great Britain have pledged more military aid to the country, including long-range missiles, attack drones, and armored vehicles.

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