Fear of Ukrainian strikes may be behind Russian friendly fire incidents, UK intelligence says

Fear of Ukrainian strikes may be behind   Russian friendly fire incidents, UK intelligence says
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Su-27
A Russian Su-27.

  • Ukrainian strikes have increased pressure on Russian air defense operators, UK intelligence said.
  • Fear of more attacks is possibly leading to Russian friendly fire incidents.
  • There have been numerous unconfirmed reports of Russian forces shooting down friendly planes.

Recent Ukrainian strikes have increased pressure on Russian air defense systems and may be leading to Russian forces shooting down their own planes, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in an update on the conflict on Saturday.

In the report, the MoD noted an incident on March 28 where a Crimean Telegram channel reported that a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 jet had crashed over occupied Crimea after being shot down by its own forces.

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Following the incident, Ukrainian navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk confirmed the claim, saying: “We confirm that this aircraft belonged to the Russian Federation and that it was destroyed by their own forces.”

“They were on alert, on combat readiness,” he added. “The human factor was at work — one of the operators was eager to get a medal and didn’t bother to find out whose plane it was.”

The Moscow-installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, confirmed that a Russian warplane had “crashed” off the Crimean coast but added that the pilot had ejected safely and “was picked up by rescue services.”

Russian Telegram channels shared footage they claimed showed the fighter jet burning as it fell.

The Crimean Wind Telegram channel claimed the plane was accidentally shot down by Russian forces after taking off from the Belbek airfield in Crimea.

Ukraine has been carrying out extensive drone strikes against Russian forces, as well as targeting factories and oil refineries, and such attacks have put Russian air defense operators on high alert.

The MoD report said that Ukrainian attacks on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in late March had “almost certainly led to local Russian air defense being at a heightened readiness.”

It also noted that “the increased pressure and tension amongst Russian air defense operators induced by the fear of further Ukrainian action leads to them inadvertently engaging their own pilots and aircraft.”

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The MoD added that the downing of the Su-27 and other similar events, if confirmed, “likely highlights the lack of situational awareness and coordination” among some Russian forces, while also highlighting the “second-order impact” of Ukrainian strikes.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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