Russian troops have entered regions such as Kharkiv and are pushing into Kyiv, but the fight has also been raging in the skies above Ukraine.
The situation has many asking if Ukraine has an air force and how big its fleet is.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Does Ukraine have an air force?
Yes, Ukraine does have an air force.
The modern day air force was re-established in 1992, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
How big is Ukraine’s air force?
Ukraine currently holds 210 aircrafts, including 98 combat aircrafts, according to the Flight International World Air Forces database 2022.
This means Ukraine currently holds the 27th largest air fleet in the world and the fourth largest in Europe.
This is partly due to the domestic defense industry in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Air Force also includes 45,000 members of personnel.
Compared to Russia, the air fleet is relatively small but in a show of strength, the Ukrainian air force as said that as of 1 March, 29 Russian aircrafts, 29 helicopters and seven air defence units have been downed while in action.
How big is Russia’s air force in comparison to Ukraine?
The Russian Air Force currently boasts around 3,863 military aircrafts.
Since the 2000s, the Russian Air Force has been steadily growing in size, and is now ranked as the world’s second largest behind the US.
However, despite outnumbering Ukraine, many have been asking why the Russian hasn’t been used more in the assault in Ukraine.
Many experts expected the Russian invasion to be followed by a blistering air assault as a result of the strong air fleet.
However, this has not transpired to the surprise of many.
Instead, Ukraine’s much smaller air force has so far held back the Russians from the skies, a fact which has come as a shock to military experts.
Will the Russian Air Force attack Ukraine?
While the air force has not been used to its full potential yet, the Telegraph reports that “roughly 300 combat aircrafts” are lined up “poised to attack” different regions within Ukraine.
Shelling and rocket attacks have already taken place, with thousands of civilians believed to have been killed in the various attacks.
Ukraine’s State Emergency service said: “More than 2,000 Ukrainians died, not counting our defenders.”
Fears over an eventual full-force Russian air attack are rising, with President Volodymyr Zelensky urging Western leaders to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
He said: “If the West does this, Ukraine will defeat the aggressor with much less blood.”
However, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is among those to insist that NATO nations will not be intervening in this way, saying: “It’s very, very important to understand that Nato is a defensive alliance. This is a time when miscalculation and misunderstanding is all too possible - and it’s therefore crucial that we get that message over.
“That does not mean that we cannot help our friends and that they do not have a right to self-defence and we can help them in that self-defence and that is what we are doing.
“When it comes to a no-fly zone in the skies above Ukraine, we have to accept the reality of that involves shooting down Russian planes…it’s simply not on the agenda of any Nato country.”
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