Russia’s air force has ‘underperformed’ in Ukraine invasion: UK military intelligence

Russia’s air force has “underperformed” in the almost four-month invasion of Ukraine, according to British military intelligence, contributing to Moscow’s “very limited campaign success.”

“In the conflict to date, Russia’s air force has underperformed,” the latest update from the British defense ministry reads. “Its failure to consistently deliver air power is likely one of the most important factors behind Russia’s very limited campaign success.”

Russian aircraft cannot gain “full air superiority,” operate in a “risk-adverse style” and rarely penetrate deep behind Ukrainian lines, officials said.

“For years, much of Russia’s air combat training has highly likely been heavily scripted and designed to impress senior officials, rather than to develop dynamic initiative amongst air crews,” they added.

While Russia has a wide variety of high-quality combat jets, the update noted, its air force “almost certainly” failed to develop the “institutional culture and skill-sets” needed to deliver a Western-style air campaign, the ministry said.

The Russian air force’s absence puts pressure on ground troops, which British military intelligence previously reported were struggling with “variable morale.”

The update comes as the Russian military announced Monday that it had hit the Artsyz airfield in Ukraine’s southern Odesa region and destroyed two Bayraktar drones and a drone control station. However, Ukraine said earlier that its air defense system intercepted incoming missiles on the Odesa region, contradicting Russia’s claim.

In the meantime, Russian ground troops are continuing assaults in the Luhansk region, in Ukraine’s east, with fights raging on in multiple villages.

Cities such as Sievierodonetsk, which is in Luhansk, have no electricity, communications, food or medicine. Only a part of the city’s 100,000 residents remains there.

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