It is “highly likely” that Russia are setting up a new aviation strike group called “Shtorm” which will have a “primary role” for “ground attack missions” in Ukraine.
Russian media have reported that the Russian Defence Ministry are trying to attract highly qualified fighter jet pilots who are being offered a large salary with benefits and are approaching “retired aviators” also.
By Moscow setting up this new “Shtorm” squadron this means that Vladimir Putin’s regular air forces have failed in the main function of conducting widespread air strikes over Ukrainian cities and towns.
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The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Monday, “Russia is highly likely creating a new ‘elite’ attack aviation group code-named ‘Shtorm’ to operate over Ukraine.
“The unit is likely to consist of at least one squadron of Su-24 FENCER and Su-34 FULLBACK fighter-bombers, and a squadron of attack helicopters.
“The mix of aircraft types suggests the group will have a primary role of ground attack missions.
“Credible Russian media reports suggest that the Russian MoD aims to attract highly skilled and motivated pilots by offering large pay incentives and opening recruitment to retired aviators.
“The creation of the group highlights how Russia assesses its regular air force squadrons have severely underperformed in their core function of conducting airstrikes on Ukraine lines.”
This comes as the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been asking for fighter jets and could now receive F-16s after the US has given permission for their aircraft to be sent to Kyiv if allies wish to do so.
Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko warned the West will face “colossal risks” supplying the US made fighter jets in what will be a major boost for Ukraine.
Grushko said, “We see that Western countries are still adhering to the escalation scenario. It involves colossal risks for themselves.
“In any case, this will be taken into account in all our plans, and we have all the necessary means to achieve the goals we have set.”
The Ukrainian defence minister, Oleksii Rezniko said that their pilots “are looking forward to starting their training.”
Rezniko wrote on Twitter, “They will now be able to support their brothers and sisters-in-arms on land and on sea to win this war.
“Looks like Santa Claus does exist.”
President Zelensky said, “We really have been working for a long time politically with our partners to get the desired outcome of the strengthening of our skies.
“Besides air, we are grateful for that. We are really grateful to the United States of America.”