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May 30, 2022
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Miracle on the Dnieper: Reinforce the forces of Ukraine with the tenacious Kashchei the Immortal?

In the photo: SU-27 fighter jets of the Ukrainian Air Force.

In the photo: SU-27 fighter jets of the Ukrainian Air Force. (Photo: Mikhail Markiv/TASS)

The domestic blogosphere is very puzzled and even angry: “Are we fighting ghosts in the sky of Ukraine?” This bewilderment is easy to understand if we compare at least two facts.

First: On March 29, 2022, summing up the interim results of the special operation in Ukraine, the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Sergei Shoigu stated: “The Armed Forces of Ukraine have suffered significant damage. Air supremacy won. The air force and the air defense system were practically destroyed. Of the 152 aircraft that were in the combat composition of the Armed Forces of Ukraine before the start of the operation, 123 were destroyed.

True, even these data of Shoigu did not at all correspond to those that Kyiv itself dictated to the West on the eve of the outbreak of hostilities. According to this information, published by the World Air Forces 2022 guide, released by the FlightGlobal information portal, at the end of 2021, there were even fewer aircraft at the disposal of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Namely, 43 MiG-29 light fighters, 26 Su-27 heavy fighters, 12 Su-24 front-line bombers and 17 Su-25 attack aircraft. In total, therefore, 98 units.

Anyway. Maybe the West and Kyiv deliberately misled Moscow, almost halving their combat capabilities? But our military intelligence knows everything. So right?

Then how to explain fact number two: already after the March report of the Minister of Defense, we managed to shoot down more than a dozen enemy combat vehicles in the sky of Ukraine.

For brevity, the statistics below are for May only. And exclusively from the front-line reports of the Russian Ministry of Defense itself:

– only in the battle for the island of Zmeiny, which unfolded on May 7-8, three Su-24 front-line bombers and one Su-27 fighter were destroyed at once;

– May 16 – another Su-24 over Zmeiny Island and two Su-25 attack aircraft (over the Nikolaev region and in the region of the Nikolaev region and Velikaya Kamyshevakha);

– three Su-25s – on May 23 (two – in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe settlement of Kiselevka, Kherson region and one over Pavlograd, Kharkov region);

– On May 24, fighter aircraft in the Kramatorsk region of the Donetsk People’s Republic, a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter;

– On May 25, a Ukrainian military transport aircraft was destroyed in the Odessa region (most likely by an S-400 division deployed near Yevpatoria);

– On May 26, another MiG-29 was shot down. This time – over the village of Belyary, Odessa region;

– On May 27, fighter aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces shot down two Ukrainian Su-25 attack aircraft over the Kherson and Kharkov regions;

– On May 28, one Su-25 attack aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force was shot down by Russian air defense systems in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe settlement of Novogrigorovka, Dnepropetrovsk region.

At the same time, it is quite obvious that we do not “land” every Ukrainian pilot who ventured into the air. Some of them are still returning to their airfields, in order to then fly out on a new combat mission. Because if each of these pilots had a guaranteed “one-way ticket” in the pocket of their overalls, would Kyiv find many candidates for kamikazes?

So where does Kyiv today have such a breakthrough of aviation, if we slammed almost all of it (according to Shoigu!) By the end of March?

Yes, there were fears that the aircraft fleet of the Ukrainian army, at the direction of the United States, would be replenished by the countries of the former Warsaw Pact, which still had many such aircraft in service since the Soviet era. Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia were named as “donors” for Kyiv.

But Russia reacted instantly to these intentions. It was semi-officially stated that if at least one combat vehicle actually tried to fly from there to Ukraine, the airfield of departure (that is, the territory of a NATO member state) could be a legitimate target for our missile attack.

The consequences, of course, none of them or ours would even dare to guess. But the very fact of the existence of such a purely hypothetical threat from a nuclear Russia was stopped by the dispersed West. Not a single border flight by combat aircraft or helicopters to Ukraine from that direction has yet been recorded. Including our intelligence. Where, then, do those same “ghosts” that magically again and again, despite catastrophic losses, continue to send Kyiv into battle with us?

The authoritative American magazine “Foreign Policy” tried to lift the veil of secrecy. He said that in fact, Ukraine’s Povitryan forces have recently been replenished by the “screwdriver assembly” method. A field team in Eastern Europe linked to the European Command (USA – SP) helped dismantle (former – SP) Soviet Su-25 aircraft and Mi-17 helicopters so they could be shipped to Ukraine. edition.

That is, engines, fuselages, wings, pilot cabins are brought to this country by trains and vehicles for future “dryers” and “migs” under the guise of spare parts. etc. Then assembly production begins in conventional workshops. In the same TECs that exist in any assault, fighter or bomber regiment. This is a common thing for ordinary aeronautical engineers and mechanics. Assembling and disassembling their aircraft, they routinely regularly carry out during routine maintenance.

One of the Russian aviation specialists explains: “The manufacturer establishes a warranty period and terms for routine maintenance for all units. A breakdown of an aggregate in the air is not the same as a similar breakdown of a car traveling on the road – the consequences are different. Therefore, aviation is very responsible for the implementation of routine (that is, prescribed by the plant) inspections and work. The aircraft is partially dismantled and in such a disassembled form, all routine maintenance is performed. Accordingly, after inspections and work, assembly is performed. That is, TEC is a mini-assembly shop. And every airbase has it.”

The same author continues: “Each individual unit – the fuselage, the tail section, the wing consoles, the consoles and the tail fin, the engine – fits perfectly into a standard car or onto a standard platform. And some of that is in the trailer.

If the units are complete, that is, after disassembling a flying aircraft, then the assembly and debugging of systems after assembly is 5-7 days. And the plane is like new.

In that case, another question. And where do those same spare parts come from to Ukraine in sufficient quantities to assemble at least dozens of new combat vehicles? Foreign Policy also knows the answer: from Bulgaria and Slovakia, of course.

There, of course, they will immediately leave “in denial,” since Russia will certainly take into account this mortal sin of theirs in the political and economic sense in the near future. Slovakia may turn away. And about the evidence of the “Bulgarian trace” in Ukraine – do not go to a fortuneteller.

Not only because the former “brothers” betrayed Russia wherever they were given such an opportunity. The First and Second World Wars are textbook examples. Their hasty entry into NATO, too. As well as the refusal under pressure from the US and the EU to participate in the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline at a time when Moscow has already spent decent money on the project. In 2018, during a visit to our capital, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov he even publicly apologized for what he had done: “I am grateful that Russia does not hold evil. The elder always forgives.

But will we also forgive the Bulgarians for Ukraine? It can be taken into account, of course, that not everyone in Sofia was eager to be drawn into this conflict on the side of Russia’s enemies. For example, the Minister of Defense of Bulgaria Stefan Yanev. When our special operation had just begun, he suggested refusing to use the term “war” on this occasion.

Little of. In late February, Yanev published a Facebook post* warning against decisions that would be dangerous for a country “that does not deserve to be sacrificed in the great power game.” He made such statements just after the European Union promised military assistance to Ukraine. And was immediately dismissed by the Prime Minister Kirill Petkov.

However, Petkov himself was not particularly eager to enter into an open confrontation with Moscow. This is probably why, immediately after Washington’s pointing finger at the end of March pointed to his country as a future donor for Ukraine’s military aviation and demanded that all available MiG-29s and Su-25s be given to Kyiv, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria tried to cowardly fight back. Speaking in the sense that all 19 MiG-29 and MiG-29UB fighters available to his country are out of order. And in general, he and the Bulgarian sky have nothing to protect with anything special.

Then the States pressed down a little more. Clearly from the American sleeve in Sofia, at the end of April, a letter from six former Bulgarian defense ministers was published at once (Boyko Noeva, Nikolay Svinarov, Anya Angelova, Todor Tagarev, Velizara Shalamanov I Nikolai Nenchev) with an urgent recommendation to immediately provide all possible military assistance to Kyiv. Here, apparently, the prime minister cast aside his hesitation.

Since before it was mainly about the supply of combat aircraft from Bulgaria, Sofia began with this. Only for conspiracy, as follows from the publication of “Foreign Policy” – the planes are sent disassembled.

However, the deplorable technical condition of the Bulgarian Air Force suggests that this source of replenishment of the Air Force will soon run out. At the rate at which Ukrainian fighters, attack aircraft and bombers are collapsing to the ground – in a couple of months for sure. And then what? What will actually happen after the merciless US “vacuum cleaner” sucks out all the former Soviet combat aircraft from Eastern Europe, as well as from Asia and Africa?

The following fact leads to certain reflections: but according to the Ukrainian press, the first 11 pilots from this country (according to other sources, cadets of the graduation course of the Kharkiv National University of Military Forces named after Ivana Kozhedub) have already “begun training in piloting and combat use of NATO fighters.” This is, according to Ukraine, about the American F-16 “Fighting Falcon”.

The place of retraining is not named. But guessing, in my opinion, is not difficult.


*Meta Platforms Inc. — the American transnational holding company that owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus was recognized by a court decision as an extremist organization, its activities in Russia are prohibited. Social networks Facebook and Instagram are blocked by Roskomnadzor.

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