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​The UK Defense Intelligence: the Shootdown of the russian Su-24M Aircraft near Snake Island Underscores Several Critical Factors

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Russian S-24M aircraft / open source
Russian S-24M aircraft / open source

Russia continues to conduct bombing runs on Snake Island, likely driven more by symbolic messaging than strategic necessity

On December 5, 2023, a russian Naval Aviation Su-24M FENCER D fighter bomber was highly likely shot down by to a Ukrainian surface-to-air missile over the north-western Black Sea in the vicinity of Ukraine’s Snake Island, the UK Defense Intelligence reports.

Since summer 2023, russia has continued to conduct high-risk, crewed strike missions against the island. This is likely mainly for messaging reasons because the island has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance and russia wants to demonstrate it can project force across the Black Sea.

Read more: The "Sad Fate" of russian Warship Also Befell the Su-24M, It Was Destroyed by Ukrainian Military Near Zmiinyi Island
Russian S-24M aircraft Defense Express The UK Defense Intelligence: the Shootdown of the russian Su-24M Aircraft near Snake Island Underscores Several Critical Factors
Russian S-24M aircraft / open source

The two-man crew was likely lost: the location and operational conditions would make a successful russian search and rescue mission extremely challenging. Both sides still suffer regular combat aircraft losses. Overall, air defenses continue to severely limit the effectiveness of tactical air operations.

Read more: How Many Fighter Jets and Helicopters does russia Have at its Disposal?