Ukrainian media are reporting the downing of another military plane in eastern Ukraine. The MiG-29 fighter jet was reportedly shot down today in the Donetsk region, near the city of Enakievo, where fighting has intensified between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatists.
Ukrainian Pravda reported that Valdislav Seleznyov, the head of the Ukrainian Anti-Terrorist Operation press center, confirmed the incident. Mr. Seleznyov said the warplane was most likely shot down with a mobile BUK missile system, the same Soviet-era system that was allegedly used in the downing last month of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.
A video posted today on YouTube by the Donetsk People's Republic, a self-styled breakaway group, appears to show a downed Ukrainian plane.
Seleznyov said the pilot tried to steer the plane away from populated areas and that he had survived the crash. A search and rescue operation is underway.
IHS Jane’s, a information group that covers the defense industry, reported on the Ukrainian Air Force’s capabilities in June.
Ukraine's air force has suffered from chronic underinvestment since the country's independence, with the bulk of its inventory either mothballed or otherwise inoperable.
According to IHS Jane's World Air Forces data, Ukraine still possesses a fleet of 24 Su-24Ms, 36 Su-25s, 45 Su-27s, 20 An-26s and 140 MiG-29s - although 39 of these were captured when Belbeck airbase in Crimea was taken by Russian forces. Estimates of how many of Ukraine's remaining aircraft are actually in operational service, however, range from around half to less than a quarter.
To see a chronology of other aircraft lost by the Ukrainian military view our story here.