Ukraine says it hit latest-generation Russian fighter jet for first time

The Sukhoi Su-57 jet fighter at the MAKS-2019 Moscow International Airshow near Zhukovsky, southeast of Moscow.

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Ukrainian forces have for the first time hit a latest-generation Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jet at an air base inside Russia, Kyiv’s GUR defense intelligence agency said on Sunday, showing satellite pictures which it said confirmed the strike.

In a Telegram post, the GUR did not specify how the Su-57 was hit or by which unit of the Ukrainian military.

A popular Russian pro-war military blogger who calls himself Fighterbomber and focuses on aviation said the report of the strike on the Su-57 was correct and that it had been hit by a drone.

The GUR said the aircraft was parked at the Akhtubinsk airfield, which it said was 589 km (366 miles) from front lines in Ukraine between Ukrainian and Russian invasion forces.

“The pictures show that on June 7, the Su-57 was standing intact, and on (June 8th), there were craters from the explosion and characteristic spots of fire caused by fire damage near it,” the GUR said, with the images posted alongside the message.

Ukraine has been fighting a full-scale Russian invasion since February 2022. Both sides conduct regular strikes hundreds of kilometers into enemy territory with missiles and drones.

Ukraine, which lacks the vast arsenal of missiles available to Moscow, has focused on making long-range drones to strike targets deep inside Russia.

Russian blogger Fighterbomber said the jet fighter was struck by shrapnel and the damage was currently being assessed to see if the aircraft could be repaired.

He said if the plane were to be deemed beyond repair it would be the first combat loss of a Su-57.

Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti’s military correspondent Alexander Kharchenko posted a cryptic message which did not directly acknowledge the strike but decried the lack of hangars to protect military aircraft.

Despite being touted as a Russian fifth-generation fighter aircraft to rival its U.S. equivalent, the Su-57 was plagued by development delays and a crash in 2019. According to its manufacturer, serial production of the aircraft began in 2022.

It is a heavy fighter jet capable of fulfilling a variety of battlefield roles.

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