ANALYSIS: The Russian air assets that would prove vital in a conflict with Ukraine

Ukraine would face a massive task confronting the well-trained and technologically advanced assets of the Russian Aerospace Forces, as Alexander Mladenov explains.

The rapid and massed build-up of Russian military forces around Ukraine’s borders began in early January and continued in the last week of that month with deployment of forces to Belarus for participation in a large-scale exercise. As the 19th century Russian playwright Anton Pavlovich Chekhov said: “If in Act I you have a pistol hanging on the wall, then it must fire in the last act.”

Russian Su-34 [Andrey Zinchuk]
The Su-34 Fullback operated by four bomber squadrons fielding more than 40 aircraft, in any likely Russian attack, would be tasked to knock out important infrastructure, industry and military targets deep inside Ukrainian territory in addition to regular SEAD/DEAD operations. Andrey Zinchuk

There is some resemblance to the quote in the build-up of military forces in the initial act of the operation, and a possible campaign to be launched against Ukraine in the follow-on ones. There are simply too many guns hanging on the wall, and it is difficult to see everything concluding nice and peacefully.

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