Not interested in any of the political bickering back and forth, I am interested in aviation.
I haven't really paid all that much attention to this conflict so far, but had a glance at it today, focusing in the aerial bit.
So, there seems to be a kind of crazy propaganda campaign going on from the Ukrainian and/or western-leaning camp, they reinforce each other, so to speak:
1. A "Ghost of Kyiv" hoax circulated for days, even involving the notorious 4Chan phenomenon Sam Hyde (written in a vaguely Slavicized variant, with Ukrainian Cyrillic). A MiG-29 claimed 6 (or more) Russian jets over Kyiv.
It's been a week, and there is no corroborating data for even a single one.
2. Two Russian VDV Il-76's shot down over two small villages/towns south of Kyiv, carrying hundreds of paratroopers each. Widely distributed news, was "confirmed by US officials" and so on, but seemed very fishy from the get-go given the geographical connotations (how and why would a big lumbering Russian transport jet fly over central Ukraine in the middle of this all?), and even more fishy as the hours went by, given that the Il-76 is basically a C-17-sized plane, it leaves a big mark when it hits the ground and some on-the-ground confirmation should have shown up within 5-6 hours at least.
No confirmation to date, some 4 days later.
3. Intense dogfights over Ukrainian cities, with multiple shootdowns by Ukrainian fighters. Not a single wreck documented, not a single piece of guncam footage or anything. Some video game visuals have circulated (from Armed Assault/ArmA, and DCS World), some even published by official Ukrainian authorities, but that's it.
The latest one comes from today, with several Russian Su-35Ss apparently being shot down over Kyiv, again, by a MiG-29 or by S-300 batteries. Reported by official Ukrainian channels, but no proof as for now. These news are only hours old, anyway, so proof might surface later. Or not.
The thing is that it seems to me that the Russian Air Force actually didn't conduct any fixed-wing sorties over Ukrainian territory at all until 4-5 days into the conflict, after some SEAD operations. I could be wrong, but that's what it looks like to me. So literally everything claimed before yesterday appears false.
However, there are loads of photos and videos of aircraft being hit, aircraft crashing, aircraft being found as wrecks in fields. All of these videos have to date been confirmed to show Ukrainian ditto, and barring the occasional mechanical failure or whatever, my guess is that most losses probably involved friendly fire.
Would like to hear some additional input. I studied the air war in Ukraine during the previous separatist conflict as well back on Keypublishing and compiled a big list, and the statistics and timeline really revealed certain extremely important things and tendencies that didn't square all that well with the various narratives that were being pushed.
Seems to me there is a real informational black hole being imposed over Ukraine right now, and it makes it near impossible to assess the air war.
From what I can tell the first actual Russian fixed-wing losses showed up a day or two ago, with two Su-25s and one Su-30SM that to my eyes appear fully confirmed. Prior to this, confirmed Ukrainian losses (photo, video, wrecks) were in the double-digits already.
The official figures coming from the Ukrainian military read like bad fan fiction still, but the Russians claim 100 Ukrainian fixed-wing aircraft destroyed which also sounds way high. Granted, most are bound to have been on the ground. As late as a few hours ago they said they shot down several Ukrainian Su-27s in the vicinity of the Zhytomir airbase last night. No visual proof has shown up yet, and as I said, there is an informational black hole being imposed. Even commercial satellite services have stopped distributing fresh data over Ukraine that could potentially show impacts and so on, in an effort it seems to aid them control the narrative. Rather bizarre development, to be honest.
Two objects were shot down near Kharkov this evening. What they were and who fired at them is anyone's guess as for now, but there is video of the interceptions.