An Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter lands during an air force exercise in 2018. Under attack by Russia, Ukraine is seeking replacement aircraft from Poland or other neighboring countries.
An Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter lands during an air force exercise in 2018. Under attack by Russia, Ukraine is seeking replacement aircraft from Poland or other neighboring countries. AFP / Genya SAVILOV


  • Ukrainian Air Force released a video that hints Patriot system downed Russian aircraft on May 13
  • Depictions on Patriot battery link Russian aircraft to the ambush
  • However, the claims and details remain unverified

The Ukrainian Air Force shared a video on July 3 that seemingly shed light on the ambush that occurred on May 13, resulting in the loss of multiple Russian aircraft.

The video in question indicated that one of the donated Patriot air defense systems may have been responsible for the downing of several Russian aircraft.

The incident took place within Russian territory and led to the loss of at least four Russian military aircraft.

In the footage that was released, one particular shot caught the attention of numerous defense observers. On the side of a Patriot battery, there were depictions of two Russian fighter jets and three Russian helicopters, all adorned with inscriptions saying "May 13."

The video was released to coincide with the celebration of the Anti-Aircraft Missile Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Day.

The caption of the video on YouTube read, according to Google Translate: "The Russians above all wanted to destroy our air defense system! They wanted an easy walk in the Ukrainian sky!.. And they hit the anti-aircraft missile forces..."

"But we persevered... And shot... And they got.. Today, soldiers of the anti-aircraft missile forces continue to beat the occupier in the Ukrainian sky, the most modern weapon in the world!.."

However, International Business Times could not independently verify the claims.

As reported by the EurAsian Times, the events that unfolded on May 13 resulted in substantial losses for the Russian Aerospace forces. On that day, it was reported that two Russian Mi-8 helicopters, one Su-34 fighter bomber, and one Su-35S fighter were lost, with no survivors.

All four aircraft crashed in Bryansk Oblast, Russia, which is located across from Ukraine's Chernihiv Oblast in the northeast direction.

While Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Col. Yuri Ihnat hinted that a third helicopter may have been downed, he alleged that the Russians were responsible for accidentally shooting down their own aircraft.

Initial reports of the incident did not confirm about the specific air defense system responsible for shooting down the Russian Aerospace Force (RuAF) fighters. However, the latest video appears to suggest the potential involvement of the Patriot air defense system in the downing.

On May 13, two Mi-8 helicopters were downed, and it is believed that one of them was a Mi-8MTPR-1 model equipped with Rychag-AV radar-jamming equipment. The other helicopter was likely serving in a dedicated search-and-rescue capacity.

On that day, both the Su-34 and Su-35 were targeted. The Su-34 was reportedly preparing to launch a glide bomb toward Chernihiv, while the Su-35 provided protection and support to the Su-34 against Ukrainian interceptors.

"A Patriot would be able to reach that distance if the launchers are near the border," a Brazil-based defense analyst, Patricia Marins, told EurAsian Times. "I don't think they [Ukraine] should move an expensive Patriot battery there. It would be easier and cheaper to move a Buk, and the holes on the debris are evidence of Buk missiles," he said.

The War Zone cited David Shank, a retired Army colonel and former commandant of the Army Air Defense Artillery School at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, saying that the probability of a Patriot hitting its target decreases as the distance between them increases.

"It would be a wasted shot in my opinion," he said, adding, "I say that based on mission requirements. Patriot systems are deployed to defend critical assets, meaning not take 'pot shots' at long range targets who may be planning to strike elsewhere."

Deploying the Patriot system in close proximity to the border to ambush Russian planes would indeed carry significant risks, considering the Patriot system is not highly mobile. Such a deployment would require careful consideration of the operational challenges and potential vulnerabilities involved.