On the night of September 29, two MiG-29 fighter jets, which Poland had transferred to Ukraine, were destroyed by the Russian Armed Forces, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.
The Ministry claimed that the Russian Aerospace Forces targeted the two Poland-supplied MiG-29 fighter aircraft at the Kulbakino airfield in the Mykolaiv region.
The Russian Ministry of Defense additionally asserted that the two MiG-29s, rendered inoperable, had undergone modifications to enable the deployment of Western missile weaponry.
“The Russian Aerospace Forces destroyed five Ukrainian Air Force combat aircraft in a week. In the area of the Toretskoye Donetsk People’s Republic, a Ukrainian attack aircraft was shot down Su-25,” the military department added in a weekly report.
The MoD added, “At the Dolgintsevo airfield in the Dnipropetrovsk region, two MiG-29 fighters of the Ukrainian Air Force were destroyed. In addition, on the night of September 29, two more MiG-29 fighters delivered from Poland, modernized for Western missile weapons, were destroyed at the Kulbakino airfield in the Mykolaiv region.”
Nevertheless, Moscow did not disclose whether the destruction of the two MiG-29s supplied by Poland was executed using drones or missiles.
The claims made by Russia have surfaced mere days after Moscow publicly shared videos depicting the impact of explosive-laden Russian drones targeting Mikoyan MiG-29 fighters in two separate incidents.
The prior strikes on the MiG aircraft occurred at Dolgintsevo and were thought to have been executed by the newly introduced version of the Lancet drone.
At the time, experts highlighted that the new “Product 53” Lancet drone, boasting an impressive range of nearly 45 miles, presents a substantial threat not only to the MiG aircraft stationed at Dolgintsevo but also to any Ukrainian warplanes utilizing the reserve base in Mykolaiv Oblast.
The new assault on the MiG aircraft also occurred in the Mykolaiv region, effectively demonstrating Russia’s ability to strike targets at considerable distances.
Polish MiGs For Ukraine
Earlier this year, Poland announced the transfer of MiG-29 aircraft to Ukraine. Reports indicated that the Polish Government had committed to providing 14 units.
While the delivery of some of these aircraft was confirmed, it remains uncertain whether all the pledged MiG-29s were successfully transferred to Ukraine.
Similarly, the Slovakian government had approved the transfer of 13 MiG-29 aircraft to Ukraine. At that time, these announcements signaled that Eastern European nations were ready to support Ukraine more proactively.
Ukrainian pilots flying the Soviet-designed MiG-29 consider it an “old friend.” While this fighter may not possess the glitz and advanced features of more modern aircraft, it has undeniably played a pivotal role in their missions.
The MiG aircraft have undergone modifications to incorporate Western anti-radar missiles, specifically the High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARMS), which they employ to engage Russian air defense systems.
The utilization of HARMS serves the purpose of diverting and disrupting Russian air defenses, creating a more conducive environment for Ukrainian bombers and attack aircraft to operate with relative ease.
This strategic advantage enables them to target Russian positions and logistical hubs farther behind the front lines.
Nonetheless, Ukraine eagerly anticipates the acquisition of US-manufactured F-16 fighter jets in the upcoming months, as some of its allied countries have pledged to donate these advanced aircraft.
The first contingent of Ukrainian Air Force (UAF) crews has arrived in the United States to undergo training on the Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jet.
On September 28, the Pentagon officially confirmed the arrival of Ukrainian aviators, who are set to undergo comprehensive training in flight operations and maintenance procedures for the fourth-generation fighter.
This training program is part of a collaborative agreement involving Washington, Kyiv, and several European NATO member nations. A US official said, “English language training has started for several pilots.”
The training program in the United States will run parallel with similar initiatives already in progress in Europe, supervised by Denmark and the Netherlands.
These two NATO member states have assumed a central role in Ukraine’s “fighter coalition” initiative, being the first countries to commit to providing training assistance to Kyiv. They have also advocated for Washington’s approval to transfer American-made F-16 fighter jets.