A senior US defense official says the Russians have increased the number of military aircraft sorties over Ukraine over the past two days, doing as many as 300 in the last 24 hours. The official says Ukraine has also increased the pace of its military flights, but declines to provide numbers.
Officials have made it clear that Russia has vastly more aircraft, and flies a great deal more than Ukraine does, but that Russia still does not have air superiority over the country’s skies.
The official says that most of the military flights involve air-to-ground strikes, mainly on stationary targets, and that the Russian aircraft are not spending a lot of time in Ukrainian airspace. The Ukraine military has continued to use its short and long-range air defense systems and drones to target Russian aircraft.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby refuses to say if Russian S-300 or S-400 air defense systems have been given to Ukraine.
The Russians have also increased naval activity in the northern Black Sea, but there are no indications at this point of an amphibious assault on Odesa. The US speaks on condition of anonymity to discuss the military’s assessment.