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UK lauded by Ukrainian pilots for playing important role in stopping Putin’s air strikes | World | News

Unexploded Russian missiles hit Ukrainian homes

Russian troops launched new shelling in residential areas in Ukraine on Wednesday morning with significant damage to a number of buildings. The head of the Luhansk regional military, Serhiy Haidai, wrote on his Telegram channel that high-rise buildings had been “significantly destroyed” and there was “a lot of debris”. The news comes just hours after Russia pledged to scale back so-called “military operations” in Kyiv and Chernihiv, a claim that has been met with skepticism both in Ukraine and around the world.

Russia claims it has “generally achieved” its goals for the first phase of the military operation, but the war continues in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said that Russia shifting its focus to this region was a “tacit admission” that it could not continue to maintain more than one axis of progress.

Ukraine has fought valiantly to protect their country, with weaponry from NATO member states proving invaluable in the war against Putin.

UK-supplied ‘MANPADS’ (human-portable air defense systems) have been instrumental in the battle for Ukraine, a pilot told BBC’s Ukrainecast this week.

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Starstreak missile

Starstreak missiles were crucial in Ukraine’s war against Putin. (Image: GETTY)

Destruction in Kyiv

Russia has vowed to reduce its attacks in Kyiv. (Image: GETTY)

The pilot, whose real name is withheld for his own safety and security, goes by the name ‘Moonfish’ and flies MiG-29 fighter jets.

Asked who won the air war in Ukraine, he said: “I am 100 percent sure that, at this point, Russia has no air superiority over Ukraine.

“Only on the parts they’ve taken.”

Moonfish acknowledged that the Russians could use long-range missiles and they were better equipped, but explained the role the UK played in the counterattack.

MiG-29 fighter jet

‘Moonfish’ flies Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets. (Image: GETTY)

He said: “Well, so far, we— [winning the air war].

“Combining our ground-air and fighter defense efforts, especially if we’re going to get those reinforcements – the UK provided very good MANPADS – I think we’ll be able to defend our skies against the Russians for a while.”

He added that Ukrainian troops were “getting ready” to “take back” the territory that Russia had taken.

Britain has sent Starstreak missiles, a type of MANPADS, to Ukraine as it continues to provide substantial support to Volodymyr Zelensky and his compatriots.

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The Starstreak missile, developed by Thales Air Defense in Belfast, is described as “designed to provide close air defense against conventional air threats such as fixed-wing fighter aircraft and late-opening helicopter targets”.

Thales described the Starstreak as a “truly versatile missile” that can be “rapidly deployed into operation and easily integrated into force structures”.

Starstreak is believed to be the fastest short-range surface-to-air system in the world, and has been in use by British troops for 25 years now.

According to The i they were installed on top of an apartment block near the Olympic Park ahead of the 2012 London Olympics.

Surface-to-air missile

Surface-to-air missiles are designed to be fired over the shoulder or from a tripod. (Image: PA Media)

They are designed to be fired when mounted on a person’s shoulder or on a tripod, and can be used to shoot down planes and drones.

Experts claim MANPADS have been at the forefront of the Ukrainian resistance, with videos posted by the Kyiv Defense Ministry showing Russian helicopters and jets being shot down by surface-to-air missiles.

Mykola Bielieskov, a researcher at the National Institute for Strategic Studies under the Ukrainian President, told DW News earlier this month: “These MANPADS are very useful because they make Russian air strikes less effective.

“If you deploy them in large numbers, you certainly won’t shoot down every Russian jet and helicopter, but Russia will have to pay a heavy price for an attack.”

Figures shared by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense early Wednesday claimed 131 Russian planes and another 131 helicopters had been destroyed, though Moscow has not disclosed the figures for itself.

Nonetheless, President Zelensky does not believe MANPADS alone is sufficient, and has consistently called for a no-fly zone in his country.

Likewise, it has appealed for Soviet-made MiG-29 and Su fighter jets, arguing Russia’s troops far outnumber the Ukrainians.

The West, however, was reluctant to implement a no-fly zone and provide planes for fear the war would escalate further.

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