Russia confirms striking ‘Ukrainian Air Force airfield’ in country’s west

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Moscow says it targeted a military infrastructure target, Kiev claims it was a civil airport

Russia’s Armed Forces have rendered a Ukrainian Air Force airfield in the western city of Vinnitsa “inoperative” with a long-range precision strike, Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday. Moscow maintains that it only targets Ukraine’s military infrastructure during its ongoing “operation” aimed at “demilitarizing” Ukraine.

Russian fighter jets and air defense systems have also shot down three Ukrainian Su-27 fighters and three drones, the ministry’s spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said, adding that the Ukrainian Air Force lost 11 military planes and two helicopters over Saturday and Sunday. 

“Almost all Kiev’s combat-ready aircraft are destroyed,” Konashenkov said, adding that Moscow has “reliable data” suggesting Ukraine has moved some of its military aircraft to other countries, including Romania. Any use of foreign nations’ infrastructure by Ukrainian military aircraft in their fight against the Russian forces “can be considered an involvement by these nations into the military conflict” between Russia and Ukraine, he has warned. 

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FILE PHOTO: A MiG-29 aircraft exhibited in Warsaw, Poland, October 13, 2016 © Getty Images / Darek Majewski
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Earlier on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of “destroying” the Vinnitsa “airport.” Claiming that the facility was targeted by eight Russian missiles, he said “Our peaceful Vinnitsa has never threatened Russia in any way,” calling the attack “a brutal, cynical missile strike.” 

Zelensky has also once again called on the western nations to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, describing such a move as their “humanitarian duty.” 

“If you fail to do that and fail to provide us with aircraft to defend ourselves, that would only mean one thing: you also want to see us slowly slaughtered,” the Ukrainian president said in a scathing rebuke. 

Earlier, NATO said that a no-fly zone is not an option since it would mean direct military confrontation between the military bloc and Russia. 

The Russian Defense Ministry meanwhile announced on Sunday that Russian forces will target Ukraine’s defense industry. Russia called on defense industry employees to leave the premises of defense industry facilities. Russia’s plans have been made public in advance to minimize civilian casualties, the ministry added.

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