Mercenaries in Su-25 cockpit
The losses of Russian Su-25 are high as
well and reached the number 14. Two of
them were “only” damaged by the rocket
hitting the engine and the aircraft managed
to return and land but the repair may not
be cost effective. One of these cases occurred during this reporting period, on June
10. During the last month at least two Su-25
were shot down and curiously belonged to
the Wagner Group i.e., the private mercenary
army which Russian hires to do a dirty work.
This explains why some Su-25s seen in the
Ukrainian skies did not carry any national
markings, just large letters Z painted in various positions.
One of the Su-25 confirmed as belonging
to Wagner’s Group was flown by a retired
Major General of the Russian AF. Kanamat
Botashev commander a squadron but during
the unauthorized aerobatic flight in Su-27 he
lost control and crashed. In 2013 he was dismissed from the AF because of this incident.
He found a new career in the mercenary
group. On May 22 new the city of Popas he
conducted an attack with unguided rockets
followed by another raid with bombs. While
recovering from the attack his aircraft was
hit by a Stinger and Botashev was killed. He
was 62 years old.
Belorussian media confirmed the loss of
another Wagner’s pilot. Nikolay Markov was
66 years old and was a former Soviet, later
Belorussian AF pilot. He served in Kazakhstan, East Germany and finally Belorussia.
After his retirement he worked as a pilot in
Africa and ultimately became a mercenary.
He was also shot down near Popasna and
was buried in Lido near Grodno, Belorussia
on May 17. According to the same media
Russian Su-25s usually carry two auxiliary tanks and two B-13L rocket launchers, each with five 122 mm caliber
missiles. Ukrainian Su-25s usually carry four B-13L rocket launchers in addition to the tanks.
another Belorussian pilot in Wagner’s service perished in Ukraine however the details
Besides, during this reporting period several
wrecks of the aircraft destroyed in previous months were found. On June 5, in Kiev
area the Russian Su-27 “red 12” marked RF93027 was found. It was probably destroyed
sometime in February or March. On June 2,
in Kherson area the wreck of the Ukrainian
Su-25 “blue 45” was found which according
to some sources had been lost already in
the end of February. On May 23 the Romanian Navy fished out from the Black Sea the
wreck of Bayraktar TB2 drone. It carried the
tail number “75” and belonged to the Ukrainian Navy. Most probably it was shot down
during the attack on the Snake Island sometime in the first half of May.
A Ukrainian Su-27 “blue 38” was destroyed on 5 June.
A Russian Su-25SM with the designation “Red 03” and the matriculation RF-91917 from the 18th Guards Battalion was damaged on June 10.