Reports suggest strong resistance to Russia’s entry into the Ukrainian capital.
As the sun rises on the third day of the Ukraine-Russia war, reports have surfaced that two Russian Ilyushin Il-76 heavy transports have been shot down by Ukrainian air defenses. Russia has not acknowledged the loss of any of its Il-76 aircraft.
On Friday, February 25, 2022, Ukrainian air defenses claimed to have shot down a Russian Il-76 transport near Vasylkiv, south of the capital in Kyiv. Ukrainian reports claimed the aircraft was carrying a “landing force”, but did not specify the number of casualties or survivors from the reported incident.
The use of the Il-76 transport aircraft with specially trained airfield seizure troops similar to US Army Rangers is known as part of Russian military doctrine.
Following reports of this first Il-76 downing incident, a “second Il-76” was reportedly shot down over Bila Tserkya. The report comes from the Ukrainian State Special Communications Agency. Initial reports did not suggest what mission this aircraft might have performed and no specific reports of casualties or survivors have been provided at this time.
Both reports were later confirmed, at approximately 04:30 UTC by AP:
New @AP report tonight: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was asked to evacuate Kyiv at the request of the US government, but refused the offer. A US official tells me that Zelenskyy said, “The fight is here; I need ammo, not a round. pic.twitter.com/oSpa1vdX29
—James LaPorta (@JimLaPorta) February 26, 2022
The Ilyushin Il-76, NATO reporting name “Candid”, is a large four-engine jet transport aircraft roughly similar in mission and configuration to the American C-17 Globemaster III. It is used in a variety of configurations and roles ranging from electronic warfare, airborne early warning and control, and, most often, heavy transport, including the delivery of airborne forces via parachute insertion and direct landing on captured airfields.
Information about the downed Il-76 plane was accompanied by photos on the Internet, both from news agencies and social networks, which show the wreckage of the plane. Some components in these photos are identifiable as Il-76 components, including the distinctive tail gun turret in one photo.
However, additional photos of a Ukrainian Il-76 that was shot down by the Russians nearly eight years ago on June 14, 2014 have also surfaced in current media. The Ukrainian Air Force Il-76 in the 2014 incident was shot down by Russian separatists while landing in Lugansk. In this 2014 incident, 40 soldiers and 9 crew members were killed. This felling took place in June and the landscape in current photographs appears to be consistent with the summer season. Some social media accounts originating in Ukraine say the two claimed Russian Il-76 downings today are “revenge” for the 2014 loss of the Ukraine Il-76. Ukraine and Russia operate the Ilyushin Il-76 heavy jet transport.
Additional reports suggest that the battle for the capital of Kyiv has begun, against the backdrop of a Russian media report by TASS that “Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal and is ready to negotiate the peace and a ceasefire. “No other Western media reported this announcement attributed to Vladimir Zelensky’s press secretary, Sergey Nikiforov.
Other unverified claims of downed Russian aircraft and repetitive fighting in several areas may suggest that Russian advances are meeting stronger resistance than originally expected, but specific information from either nation involved in the conflict have been difficult to verify. A report suggested that a major push by Russian forces into downtown Kyiv using the city’s main road was thwarted by Ukrainian defenders. As with almost all reports from the region, there has been no independent verification of the reports.
As the third day of the conflict continues, one of the dilemmas of this war has been the difficulty of obtaining accurate media information, both from official sources and through social media. In the continued evolution of media in the age of social media, the distinction between “official” media and amateur social media has blurred or disappeared altogether. As a result, reports from the region come either from reporters embedded in Ukraine, such as the BBC’s Liz Doucet who reported directly from the Ukrainian capital via satellite and internet links, or from observers outside the region monitoring the news. official and unofficial social networks. media channels for stories. Even private satellite reconnaissance companies provided intelligence about the conflict, but with little context and no official verification. These very different media resources offer either a very close view of the conflict, as if “looking at the battlefield through a straw”, or a very broad and generally less credible perspective gleaned from media investigations very sensitive to disinformation. and misinformation. Because of this highly polarized media portrayal of the war, an enormous amount of information between these two journalistic extremes has left observers around the world in the dark, with few credible and substantial accounts of the conflict to draw upon.