Russia’s air force downed a Ukrainian fighter jet during a dogfight that took place in one of Ukraine’s eastern Russian-backed separatist regions, according to Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov.
Konashenkov’s brief description of the aerial fight was reported in an article published Sunday by the Russian state-owned news agency TASS.
“During an aerial battle, a MiG-29 plane of the Ukrainian Air Force was shot down near Slovyansk in the Donetsk People’s Republic,” he said, according to an English translation of his comments.
Russia’s purported aerial success came as a campaign assessment from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that the Ukrainian counteroffensive was seeing some of its own success on the ground in parts of eastern Ukraine, where fighting is currently concentrated. The ISW said in a report that the Ukrainian counterattack suggested that Russia’s combat power in Ukraine was in decline, even though Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Russia would continue with its “special military operation” until all goals had been achieved, Reuters reported.
Ukraine retook “large areas” of the city of Severodonetsk, according to the ISW’s June 5 assessment. Late last week, the U.K. Ministry of Defence said that Russian forces were “achieving tactical success” in Donbas, but it was coming at a “significant resource cost” due to the concentration of its troops there.
The TASS article did not specify exactly when the dogfight between Russia and Ukraine took place or how many aircraft it involved. Newsweek reached out to Russia’s Defense Ministry for additional information and comment on the aerial fight, as well as to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry for confirmation and comment on the downed jet.
Konashenkov also detailed several other Russian military actions and strikes against Ukraine in his comments reported in the TASS article. He said that the Russian Aerospace Forces used long-range precision missiles to wipe out T-72 tanks, which he said had been supplied to Ukraine by Eastern European countries, at a railcar repair plant on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. NPR reported that Russian strikes on Sunday morning destroyed the facility but added that journalists invited to view the scene in the attack’s aftermath saw no signs of weapons there.