UK sending AIM-120 AMRAAMs to support Ukraine
The UK agreed to send AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles to Ukraine in October (Picture: Raytheon Missiles and Defence).
Ukraine

Ukraine: UK says Russian aircraft flying considerably fewer sorties due to threat of Ukrainian air defences

UK sending AIM-120 AMRAAMs to support Ukraine
The UK agreed to send AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles to Ukraine in October (Picture: Raytheon Missiles and Defence).

The amount of sorties flown by Russian tactical combat aircraft has dramatically reduced, due to both weather conditions and the threat of Ukrainian air defence, the Ministry of Defence has said.

In an update on Twitter, the MOD said Russian aircraft probably now conduct "tens of missions per day, compared to a high of up to 300 per day in March 2022".

"Russia has now lost over 60 fixed-wing aircraft in the conflict, likely including an additional Su-24M FENCER fighter-bomber and a Su-25 FROGFOOT ground attack aircraft last week," the MOD said.

"The decrease in sorties is likely a result of continued high threat from Ukrainian air defences, limitations on the flying hours available to Russian aircraft, and worsening weather.

"With Russia's ground attack tactics largely reliant on visual identification and unguided munitions, the Russian air force will likely continue a low rate of ground attack operations through the poor winter weather."

Watch: Ukrainian thank-you message pokes fun at Russian aerial failures.

In October, the Defence Secretary announced the UK would send cutting edge AMRAAM air defence missiles to Ukraine to help the country defend itself from Russian attacks.

The US have also sent Kyiv the NASAMS air defence capability whilst Germany sent theĀ the IRIS-T Surface Launched Missile system - which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

It comes after the MOD said Russia is investing a large amount of its "overall military effort and firepower" in the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut.

In an intelligence update posted on Twitter last week, the MOD said "Russia has prioritised Bakhmut as its main offensive effort since early August 2022".

"The capture of the town would have limited operational value although it would potentially allow Russia to threaten the larger urban areas of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk", the MOD report added.

The MOD did however highlight the campaign "has been disproportionately costly relative to these possible gains."

"There is a realistic possibility that Bakhmut's capture has become primarily a symbolic, political objective for Russia", the report said.