Impressive Videos of the Ukrainian Air Strikes on Donetsk

Ukrainian Air Force’s Gunships and Attack planes have been extensively involved in the offensive in Donetsk.

On May 26, Ukrainian Armed Forces launched a military operation to regain control over the international airport in the eastern city of Donetsk.

The operation saw the involvement of Mi-24 gunship helicopters and Mig-29 Fulcrum and Su-25 Frogfoot jets.

It all started early on Monday morning, when forces belonging to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (pro-Russia separatists) occupied the airport, in what appeared to be a show of force in response to Petro Poroshenko’s victory in the presidential election.

Airstrikes were launched after the self-defense forces failed to comply with the ultimatum put forward by Kiev’s troops to surrender by 1.00 PM local time.

Mi-24 helicopters (the same type involved in the still unclear last week’s blue-on-blue episode) appeared over Donetsk making extensive use of rockets and releasing flares, to deceive possible MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense Systems).

While the gunships operated at low level, Mig-29, including one in the high-visibility, white, yellow and light blue livery of the one of the Ukrainian Falcons, the UkAF aerobatic display team, provided cover at higher altitude.

Mig-29 high altitude

Actually, the first wave of air strikes did not only involve Mi-24s: the following video shows the Hind gunships supported by several Mi-8/17 Hip helicopters.

The airport was forced to suspend air traffic till 9.00 AM LT Tuesday May 27.

The “counter-terror operation” was backed by Sukhoi Su-25s. Two Frogfoot aircraft made a warning shot to the area of the separatists location, before the helicopters intervened.

Then, the Su-25s remained in the area throughout the rest of day and even performed an airstrike using rockets after dusk as the following video shows.

Note that the Su-25 involved in the rocket attack in the above video has navigational lights switched on: something quite unusual for a real operation, as they make the aircraft visible in the darkness from considerable distance.

H/T to Steppen Wolf for sending additional material.


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Sucha a large variety of aircraft used for a small military operation. And what’s with having the navigation lights on? The Ukrainian armed forces clearly lack the requisite training and skills to engage in warfare.

      • If it was the US, it would have been called Shock and Awe strategy. Pounding few AK-47 armed militias lacking even standard combat gear with expensive smart munitions from F-15E’s, AH-64’s, F-16, even B-1B to take one 1 or 2 is really competent, while attacking well equipped entranced militias with much cheaper dedicated COIN air equipment is incompetent… Go figure…

          • A Su-25 is much closer to a COIN aircraft than a B-1B…
            And some heavily armed infantry deserve an airstrike much more than a couple of guys with an AK-47 with half magazine and a goat

        • Obviously these weren’t very well equipped or entrenched militias (I’m assuming you meant entrenched, not entranced), or they wouldn’t have ended up as a pile of dead bodies in the morgue, without inflicting a single casualty on the assault force.

          • At least they have a uniform and some other gear, their rifles are newer… Really those guys look much closer to a professional force than whatever the US faced in the last 15 years using its full airpower, hence I calling Ukrainians use of Air Force disproportionate means that the US one was a crime.

        • If your referring to the invasion of Iraq, Saddam’s forces were an actual national military .. not a “few AK-47 armed militias lacking even standard combat gear”.

          For example, they had anti-aircraft weaponry that would have easily taken out the low flying craft in this video, hence the high altitude “smart” bombing.

    • Well, it worked, as they have control of the airport and one injured paratrooper. Meanwhile, the photos of the morgue in Donetsk this morning don’t look good for the separatists.

    • I don’t get the navigationlights either, but the wide range of aircraft used seems to me to be the right tools for the job. Mig-29 aircover, SU-25 fast ground strikes, maybe with smartweapons, Mi-24 low-altitude strafing and groundattack.

  2. This really demonstrates that acrobatic teams’ jets keep their full combat capabilities as it is advertised for Thunderbirds too.
    Being forced to use them to beef up its regular units, it’s another topic.

    • Some Ukrainian pilots just can’t be trusted to bomb other Ukrainians of ethnic Russian descent without, say, flying their plane to Voronezh and handing it over to the Russian Federation.

  3. It’s really disproportionate, and the casualities in infrastructure will be huge, It’s an operation for commandos, and it had to take effect before light.

    • They’ve allready sent in their commandos and real life isn’t COD kid. They got ambushed in the rural areas not even coming close to the town and lost a few people, so they decided to take some decicive action and bombard the shit out of everything that was holding positions or pouring into Donetsk based on intel. Yet I agree for such a medium scale operation, the use of aircraft should have been a bit limited especialy seeing the lacking expertise and competence. Many civilians died by air strikes. But then again, much more would have died if they made a full scale ground assault because there are still shitload of people in those buildings. Tanks would have done more damage.

  4. What has become of this Earth? A neonazi regime in the 21st century, waging war on its own people. Why did the world bother fighting Germany in world war 2?

    • Gee ?? More disinformation from putin’s kremlinoids. In fact, the videos that you provided are from a separate incident that occurred during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, when the Russian terrorists tried to shot down a Ukrainian plane, and hit the premises of the Luhansk Regional State Administration instead – during “rush hour” thereby murdering and crippling dozens of innocent Ukrainian civilians.
      The consequences of the explosion in Luhansk (WARNING 18 + / video)

      However, video surveillance cameras and expert opinion indicate that the explosion was caused by a shot from a portable anti-aircraft missile system from the building regional SBU , which is also controlled by Russian terrorists. MANPADS missile was sent at the plane, but reacted to heat the air conditioner below the RSA.

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