‘Made In Russia, Recycled In Ukraine’ — Putin’s Best Fighter Bombers Are Being Sold As Souvenirs In Ukraine

As claims and counterclaims on social media and western media narrative over the alleged bungling of the war in Ukraine singe Vladimir Putin’s pride, the cancellation of the planned flypast of 77 fighter jets on Russia’s Victory Day has again set tongues wagging.

The Western media jumped on the opportunity to allege that the event was scrapped as Moscow suffered massive Ukraine losses.

While Russia has refuted such claims, many western reports have claimed that Russia lost over 200 fighter jets in the Ukraine conflict.

EurAsian Times recently reported that Russian fighter pilots flying Su-34 fighters in Ukraine were allegedly using basic GPS receiver devices taped to the dashboards due to the poor quality of their in-built navigation systems.

Photo of Su-34 Cockpit Showing Commercial Garmin GPS Equipment (Defense Blog)
Photo of Su-34 Cockpit Showing Commercial Garmin GPS Equipment (Defense Blog)

However, there’s more to the abysmal performance demonstrated by this Russian bomber jet than the lack of a reliable GPS. The Su-34 has reportedly been shot down in large numbers, and Ukrainians are selling parts from downed jets at fundraisers.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, who broke the news about Russians allegedly using GPS taped to the dashboard of fighter jets, said, Russians are exhibiting the poor quality of their systems.”

The Su-34 is regarded as one of Russia’s most valued fighter aircraft. The Su-34 is a fighter-bomber with a range of 600 miles and a payload capable of carrying 12 tons of explosives. It can fly in any weather and at night. It has been compared to an F-15E Strike Eagle of the US Air Force.

A pilot and co-pilot sit side-by-side in the Su-34. The co-pilot is also in charge of navigation and armament. The crew can even stand up and sleep in a rest space with a toilet within this spacious cockpit.

The Su-34’s $50 million twin-engine plane is a Su-27 derivative. They are known for dropping precision-guided weapons.

Sukhoi Su-34 – Wikipedia

Given this description and capabilities, it is shocking that these sophisticated bomber aircraft have been allegedly shot down in huge numbers by a numerically inferior military defending its territory and operating in a much smaller area.

Military aviation expert Babak Taghvaee told The Sun Online that “their (Russia) biggest weakness which could have been revealed if they had held the air parade was lack of enough Su-34s,” referring to the canceled flypast at Russian Victory Day celebrations last Monday.

Ukraine has received spare parts from NATO states to bolster its air force which pales in comparison to the heavy-duty fighter jets that Russia has. Not just that, the Ukrainian Air Force has claimed to have bombed the “hell out of Russia in Snake Island” a few days ago.

On May 7, the Ukrainian military released a video of two consecutive aircraft bombings on Russian-occupied Snake Island in the western Black Sea, demonstrating that the Ukrainian Air Force is still in the fight.

Therefore, while Ukraine is giving a hard time to the Russian Air Force, it has undergone quite a resurgence itself.

Selling Parts Of Su-34 To Raise Money

Ukrainians are commemorating the destruction of Su-34s in unique ways. One group has gathered components of downed fighters, which can be purchased for $1,000 online.

The money raised goes to the Ukrainian military. One can donate and get their piece of the Su-34 wreckage on a dedicated website. The souvenir is a blue-colored key chain described as an “original piece of Su-34 aircraft skin.” According to one volunteer, it has raised $30,000 for the charity.

The initiative is organized by the Drones for Ukraine Foundation, headed by volunteer Yura Vysoven.

“For a long time, I have been thinking about how to gather more money to buy drones for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. We must look for money abroad. It is also obvious that everybody who wanted to donate did it already. It is necessary to involve the general public. It means that we must give something for a donation. Ukrainian postal stamps are great, but we must find something cooler,” Vysoven wrote in a Facebook post.

He continued: “We collected pieces of a shot-down Su-34 and made these souvenirs from them. Not for sale, only for those who donate over $1000 for drones.” 

According to Vysoven, the charity is currently looking for suitable components of a fallen Ka-52 attack helicopter to add to its souvenir collection.

Vysoven sent AeroTime photographs of at least four DJI Mavic-series drones, as well as tablet computers purchased by the organization and distributed to Ukrainian troops. The Drones for Ukraine Foundation’s website is now being updated with specifics on the acquisitions made with the money donated.

There is enough evidence of Su-34s that have crashed. According to open-source images collected by the Oryx, at least nine Su-34s have been confirmed as shot down by Ukrainian forces.

The wreckage, which was used to extract parts and put them up for charity, contained the tail number RF-81251 and the call sign “31 Red,” according to the Ukrainian Defense ministry.