Downed Russian pilots insist they were only following orders in Ukraine

Don’t miss a thing! Sign up to the Daily Star’s newsletter

Russia’s airforce is far larger than that of Ukraine – but the gap is narrowing as Ukrainian ground forces continue to score spectacular victories against the invaders’ aircraft.

Exact numbers are hard to verify, but defence blog Oryx reports that Russia has lost a significant number of combat jets in the past few days, including one Su-30SM Flanker, two Su-34 Fullbacks, and two Su-25 Frogfoots – as well as two Mi-24/Mi-35 Hind and two Mi-8 Hip helicopters, and at least one Orlan electronic warfare drone.

Ukrainian defenders have captured several downed Russian pilots, and while the Geneva Convention forbids the use of POWs’ photo in propaganda images the furious Ukrainians have flouted this rule when it comes to pilots who had just been targeting civilian populations.

Videos of the captured flyers show the men, battered and bruised by the violent force of their ejector seats, insisting that they were “just following orders” as they are angrily interrogated by their captors.

In one clip, a furious Ukrainian soldier shouts "You are killing our people, you b*****ds” as two bloodied Russian pilots sit in the back of a truck.

As one of the pilots pleads that he was "ordered to fly” on what he claims was a rescue mission and another says he was "not told anything" about his mission one of the Ukrainians furiously says “are you blind?” saying there were maps in the downed aircraft indicating civilian areas as bombing targets.

  • Putin 'under threat of assassination' as anger grows in Russia over Ukraine 'war crimes'

The interrogators then say to him "you were going to bomb civilians" and demand to know "how many bombing missions did you undertake?".

In another clip, a downed bomber pilot is ordered to say “glory to Ukraine” before being asked why he was targeting civilians.

Even after their losses, the Russians are believed to have over 700 serviceable fighter-bomber aircraft, as opposed to less than 70 on the Ukrainian side.

US President Joe Biden has expressed a willingness to supply Ukraine with aircraft, but Ukrainian pilots are trained on Russian-made equipment and the high-tech nature of modern combat aircraft makes it extremely difficult to switch to a different cockpit layout overnight.

President Biden is believed to be in discussion with Polish defence ministry officials to swap some of their Russian-made Sukhoi and Mig fighters for US aircraft so that the older planes can be handed to Ukraine.

However, Russian leader Putin has reiterated that any country helping Ukraine will face a massive response “never seen in history.”

To stay up to date with all the latest news, make sure you sign up to one of our newsletters here.

  • Russia
  • Russia Ukraine war
  • Ukraine

Source: Read Full Article