Kiev announces the destruction of 278 Russian fighters … and an exchange of prisoners with Moscow

Ukrainian forces destroyed 278 Russian warplanes during eight months of fighting, the commander said Thursday in Ukrainian army chief, General Valery Zaluzhny, explaining that this is more than double the number of warplanes lost by the Soviet Union in its intervention armed forces in Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989.

The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented on these comments, but they are in in line with an increasingly confident rhetoric from Kiev, which has made progress in claiming some territory from the Russians.

Although civilians face occasional blackouts and water supplies due to Russian missile and drone attacks on energy infrastructure, momentum on the battlefield is in Kiev’s favor.

Ukraine is now exerting increasing pressure on Russian forces in the south thanks to military equipment supplied by its Western allies, including the US-made HIMARS missile system.

“During the total aggression, the Ukrainian defenses destroyed more than double the number of Russian aircraft lost by the Soviet Union during the ten years of war. in Afghanistan, 278 Russian aircraft in Ukraine compared to the 118 Soviet aircraft in Afghanistan, “General Zaloghny tweeted.

He added: “This war is the same shame for Russia and will cause its destruction.”

More than three decades after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, that military campaign still haunts Russian national consciousness and has been criticized by many Russians as a bloody foreign adventure similar to the American war. in Vietnam.

About 14,000 Soviet soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. Many of them were repatriated in zinc-coated coffins known as Cargo 200 (Cargo 200), a term now widely used to refer to Russian soldiers killed during the current war in Ukraine.

Since the start of the war, each side claims to have inflicted huge numbers of deaths and injuries on the other, but these numbers are seen as very exaggerated.

Ukraine claims 74,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, while the Russian Defense Minister said in September that 61,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed.

Russia and Ukraine exchange 214 prisoners

In another context, Russia and Ukraine exchanged 214 captured soldiers today, Thursday, in the latest round of prisoner exchange operations. Many of the released Ukrainians survived a failed attempt to defend the city of Mariupol last April and May.

The Russian Defense Ministry said today in a statement that Ukraine has released 107 Russian soldiers and that they will be transferred to Moscow to receive “necessary medical and psychological assistance”.

For his part, Andrei Yermak, director of the Ukrainian president’s office, said that Russia released 107 Ukrainian fighters, including 74 defending the Azovstal steel plant, which was Ukraine’s last stronghold in Mariupol.

Yermak added: “We have been in able to exchange badly injured and bedridden fighters from Mariupol, Azovstal boys, with shrapnel in the arms and legs and gunshot wounds in different parts of the body. Others have infected wounds due to a microbial infection. “

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