FACT CHECK: Did Ukraine Shoot Down Half Of Russia’s Air Force?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims Ukraine shot down half of the Russian Air Force during the war.

Verdict: False

While Ukraine has claimed to have downed hundreds of Russian aircraft, it does not represent half of Russia’s aircraft inventory.

Fact Check:

Russia has struggled to gain air superiority over Ukraine despite having numerical and technological advantages against the Ukrainian Air Force, according to Newsweek. Ukraine recently claimed to have shot down a Su-24 over Bakhmut during an intense battle, Ukrainska Pravda reported.

The Facebook video claims that Ukraine had shot down half of the Russian Air Force. The video caption reads, “Chaos in the Kremlin! Half of the Russian Air Force Was Destroyed.”

This claim is false. Ukraine has claimed to have shot down 298 aircraft and 286 helicopters, for a total of 584 manned vehicles, according to numbers posted by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. Oryx, a military analysis website that tracks equipment losses in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, has visually confirmed 66 Russian “combat aircraft” damaged or destroyed, two strategic bombers as damaged, 74 helicopters as damaged, destroyed or captured and one transport aircraft as destroyed.

Estimates of Russia’s aircraft inventory vary, but are in the thousands. The World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft estimates that the Russian Air Force has over 3,600 active aircraft, including helicopters, in its inventory. Assuming numbers from Ukraine are correct, less than 20 percent of the Russian Air Force has been shot down. (RELATED: Does This Video Show An ‘Ascension’ Occurring After The Recent Earthquake In Turkey?)

Flight Global reports that Russia has 1,511 active combat aircraft, which would again represent around 20 percent. Flight Global also claims Russia has 1,543 helicopters, also 20 percent. Estimates shrink when using visually confirmed losses verified by Oryx.

Misinformation around the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is not new. Check Your Fact recently debunked a video claiming to show North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) tanks destroying a Russian ship.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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