A Ukrainian citizen from Chernihiv who reportedly brought down a Russian Su-34 fighter jet using his rifle in March has been awarded a medal and branded a “hero” by the Ukrainian armed forces.
The State Border Service of Ukraine announced that officials had awarded a “pensioner” Valeriy Fedorovych with a medal “for assistance in the protection of the state border.”
“When the Russian occupiers continuously bombarded Chernihiv, pensioner Valery Fedorovych took his rifle and opened fire. The enemy fighter Su-34 was targeted and destroyed.
The plane fell, and our hero received the medal,” said Ukrainian State Border Service in a statement released on August 19.
The State Border Service also released a short video showing Fedorovych with a rifle slung around his shoulder, walking through buildings destroyed by Russian shelling.
In the video, there is a clip purportedly showing the moment when Fedorovych successfully hit the Su-34 jet, and the aircraft starts descending with smoke emerging from it. Cheering and clapping can be heard in the background as the aircraft plunges.
“On the second lap, how did it go? I went ‘bang’ with my stick [rifle]. And it was like ‘bang.’ And it [a Russian Su-34 jet] fell,” Fedorovych said in the video.
The video celebrating Fedorovych’s actions is circulating on social media, embarrassing the Russian military when it has just lost a massive chunk of its fighters to Ukrainian attacks on Crimea.
Half Of Russian Black Sea Fleet’s Jets Put Out Of Action
According to the latest media reports, more than half of the Russian Black Sea fleet’s naval aviation combat jets have been rendered inoperable because of an attack on Saki Air Base near Novofedorivka on the west coast of Crimea earlier this month.
“We now assess that the events of Saky airfield on August 9 put more than half of Black Sea fleet’s naval aviation combat jets out of use,” an unnamed Western official told Reuters on August 19.
The official said that Ukraine had been consistently achieving “kinetic effects” deep behind Russian lines, which is having a material impact on Russia’s logistics support and “a significant psychological effect on the Russian leadership.”
— Brady Africk (@bradyafr) August 10, 2022
The air base is home to the 43rd Independent Naval Attack Aviation Regiment of the Black Sea fleet, which operates a combination, primarily of Su-30SM, Su-24M, and Su-24MR fighter aircraft.
The claims made by the Western official cannot be independently verified, but initial estimates, as reported by EurAsian Times, suggested that at least ten fighter jets were severely damaged or destroyed, with experts estimating that five were Su-24 Fencers and three were Su-30 fighter jets.
If verified, the losses would be the greatest suffered by the Russian military in a single day since the onset of the Ukraine war in February.
In addition, other aircraft like the Su-23, Il-76, and the Tu-134UBL were also affected by the explosions up to some extent and shifted to other locations.
Crimea And Russia Rocked With Explosions
Meanwhile, Ukraine continues to attack Crimea and positions inside Russia, with the latest reports emerging of a drone strike on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in the port city of Sevastopol on August 20.
The Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said on his Telegram channel that a drone flew into the roof of the headquarter and unfortunately, was not shot down.
Images and videos of explosions over the headquarters have been doing the rounds on social media, showing a plume of smoke emerging from the building.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) August 20, 2022
On the same day, Oleg Kryuchkov, an advisor to the Russian-appointed regional head of Crimea, urged the civilians to remain calm, saying, “Small drone attacks continue. The goal is not military, psychological, the charge is minimal, and it is impossible to inflict great damage on them.”
This is the second time the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s headquarter has been attacked by a drone.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) July 31, 2022
On July 31, a kamikaze drone laden with explosives stormed into the headquarter, causing an explosion that injured six people and forced the cancellation of ceremonies to mark Russia’s Navy Day.
Also, there was another explosion at a warehouse near the International Airport in the resort city of Sochi, on the coast of the Black Sea.
The incident happened on August 19, and photos of the explosion on social media show a Utair airplane on the runway with a gigantic ball of flames in the background. Videos showing the aftermath of the explosion show firefighters trying to put down the fire.
It is not clear yet if the incident is linked to the ongoing Ukraine conflict, as no one has claimed responsibility for the attack as of the writing of this article.