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Ukraine says it shot down 3 Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers in a single day to cap off a rough month for Russia's air force

Sukhoi Su-34 jet fighter-bomber of Russian Air Force performs its demonstration flight at MAKS-2015 airshow near Zhukovsky, Moscow Region, Russia.
Sukhoi Su-34 jet fighter-bomber of Russian Air Force performs its demonstration flight at MAKS-2015 airshow near Zhukovsky, Moscow Region, Russia.aviation-images.com/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • Ukraine says it shot down three Russian Su-34 jets in one day.

  • In total, Russia's lost 10 Su-34s and two Su-35s this month, along with one A-50 aircraft.

  • Ukraine's hot streak in the skies comes even as they face hardships in other areas of the fighting.

Ukraine is taking a victory lap after what it has says has been a very successful month of shooting down Russian aircraft.

The reported loss of 13 Russian aircraft — 10 Su-34s, two Su-35s, and one A-50 — marks a hot streak for Ukraine and its greatest results since last fall.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine said it had shot down three Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bombers that day. The reported kills extend what appears to have been a successful month for Ukraine's air defenders and a devastating one for Russian aviation.

Ukraine had been reporting kills for weeks, including fighter-bombers, multi-role fighters, and even one airborne early warning and control plane.

In another post, the Ministry of Defense boasted about its successes, writing that with "13 destroyed Russian planes in 12 days," they're "running out of jokes about Russian aircraft."

Business Insider was unable to independently confirm the number of aircraft Ukraine claims to have downed. It's also unknown if any of the pilots survived.

Last October, Ukraine said that it shot down five Russian Su-25 close-air-support planes over a 10-day period. At the time, it was a rate and scale not seen since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion.

Russian servicemen repair a Su-34 at an airbase in Syria.
Russian servicemen repair a Su-34 at an airbase in Syria.VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP via Getty Images

It's unclear what systems Ukraine is using to shoot down so many jets and if the reported kills are the byproduct of changes in Russian tactics or Ukraine's. Its defenders have relied heavily on American-made Patriot systems and other Western-made systems, but Ukraine also has various other systems at its disposal.

Ukraine's reported wins in protecting its skies come at a time when its forces are playing defense, and, in some areas, in retreat. After Russia's costly conquest of Avdiivka earlier this month, there have been Russian advances along other axes, and they have claimed their own wins against key combat systems, including the reported defeat of an US M1 Abrams tank.

As Russia seized Avdiivka, its air forces appeared to achieve brief and localized air superiority, allowing its planes to provide critical close-air support, but Ukraine has since been working overtime to deny the Russians further control of the skies, which experts have said would be devastating.

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