Ukraine shot down a Russian fighter jet on Saturday in Chernihiv before two crew members were seen parachuting down from the wreck, the Ukraine State Emergency Service reported. The plane’s Russian pilot was later reportedly captured.
Radio Free Europe posted video on YouTube of the Russian crew members parachuting down, reporting that the pilot was later captured by Ukrainian forces.
“On March 5, at about 12:40 a.m., an enemy plane was shot down over Chernihiv, causing it to crash on the outskirts of the private sector,” Ukraine State Emergency Service (SES) tweeted. “The information is being clarified. 2 people were rescued. 23 people and 4 units were involved from the SES. techniques #stoprussia.”
The SES also shared photos of the aftermath of the incident, including smoking pieces of the downed Russian jet.
According to The Washington Post, the “24” on the aircraft’s vertical stabilizer indicates the plane was a Sukhoi Su-34 fighter jet. Tony Wilson of the Security Force Monitor at Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute confirmed the plane’s origins.
The Post also reported that a pillar of black smoke rising from the debris could be seen nearly a half-mile away.
On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy once again urged NATO nations to implement a no fly zone over Ukraine, this time citing Russia’s “brutal” and “cynical” attack on Vinnytsia, which leveled the city’s airport.
“I’ve just heard the report on the missile strike at Vinnytsia. Eight missiles. Against our city. Against our peaceful Vinnytsia which has never posed a threat to Russia in any way. A brutal, cynical missile strike has completely destroyed the airport. They continue total destruction of our infrastructure, our life built by us, our parents and grandparents, generations of Ukrainians,” Zelenskyy said.
“We repeat every day: ‘close the sky over Ukraine!’ Close for all Russian missiles, Russian combat aircraft, for all these terrorists. Make a humanitarian air zone. Without rockets. Without air bombs. We are people and it is your humanitarian duty to protect us, protect people. And you can do it,” he continued. “If you do not do that, if you at least do not give us aircraft for us to be able to protect ourselves, there can be only one conclusion: you want us to be slowly killed. This is also the responsibility of the world’s politicians. Western leaders. Today and forever.”
While Ukraine is not a member of NATO, the country borders member nations who have ramped up defense in the region since the Russian invasion began. The combined forces of NATO’s 30 member countries exceeds 3 million personnel.
The United States military alone has roughly 1.4 million active-duty service members, at least half a million more than Russia. Approximately 100,000 U.S. troops are positioned in Europe.