Ukraine says it downed a Russian Su-24M bomber as it was trying to launch a missile strike

  • Ukraine says it shot down a Russian Su-24M bomber as it tried to launch missiles at a coastal region.

  • It was shot down near Snake Island in the Black Sea, the Ukrainian air force said.

  • Zelenskyy congratulated the air defense unit in a speech on Ukraine's Armed Forces Day.

Ukraine says it shot down a Russian Su-24M near Snake Island, as the aircraft was attempting to bomb a coastal region.

Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, the commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, made the claim on Telegram on Tuesday.

"We haven't had any downed Russian Su aircraft for ages! Let's put that right!" he wrote, according to Ukrainska Pravda's translation.

According to Oleshchuk, the Su-24M was accompanied by a Su-30SM fighter jet as it set out to bomb the region of Odesa, in southwest Ukraine.

A Ukrainian antiaircraft missile unit took down the bomber near Zmiinyi Island, he said.

Business Insider has been unable to independently verify the claim.

Zmiinyi, or "Snake" Island, is a tiny Black Sea outpost where, early in the war, Ukrainian border guards famously cursed out Russia's then-flagship Moskva instead of giving in to threats.

A few weeks later, Ukraine sank the Moskva with long-range missiles.

"It seems that the Moskva cruiser will soon become an aircraft carrier!" Oleshchuk joked, in reference to the idea that both now lie at the bottom of the sea.

The Russian missile cruiser Moskva patrols in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Syria, on December 17, 2015.
The Russian missile cruiser Moskva patrols in the Mediterranean Sea on December 17, 2015.MAX DELANY/AFP via Getty Images

Oleshchuk did not say when the claimed strike on the Su-24M took place, but the announcement came on Ukraine's Armed Forces Day — a day when Ukrainian officials are likely to want to emphasize a win.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy opened his commemorative address by congratulating the antiaircraft team.

"I am grateful to our defenders of the sky," he said, according to Ukrinform's translation.

"Another minus one for the terrorists," he added, going on to say that Ukraine is strengthening its defenses in the Odesa region.

In March, Ukraine shared footage of what it said was a Russian Su-24 supersonic bomber shot down near Bakhmut.

In September, another Russian Su-24 jet crashed in Volgograd during a training exercise gone wrong, according to reports.

The latest downed plane would be a much-needed morale boost in one of the few areas — the Black Sea — where Ukraine has made significant progress in recent months.

While its summer counteroffensive is widely considered to have led to limited forward progress on land, Ukraine has kept up steady pressure on Russia's Black Sea Fleet by using airborne and naval drones, as well as cruise missiles, to strike at key ports and shipyards.

This has limited Russia's ability to exert power over the Black Sea, particularly in the northwest, and has allowed Ukraine to operate its vital grain corridor with relative impunity in recent months.

Russia targeted Odesa in November using exploding drones and a cruise missile to destroy grain and civilian buildings, Al-Jazeera reported at the time, citing Ukrainian officials.

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