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
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.