Rescued From Crimea, Ukrainian MiG-29 Returns to Service
Kiev reassembling warplanes that escaped Russian forces in crates
When Russian troops invaded Crimea in late February, the Ukrainian air force scrambled to save as many of its aircraft as it could on the strategic Black Sea peninsula.
Now some of those planes are returning to front-line service as Kiev’s forces fight Russian-backed separatists in the country’s east.
During the Russian invasion, Ukrainian airmen dismantled many of their planes—including MiG-29 fighters—loaded them on trucks and hurried them north to mainland Ukraine. But the Ukrainians had to abandon at least seven other MiG-29s and three L-39 trainers that were at the air force’s repair plant in Crimea.
Kiev’s engineers began reassembling the evacuated MiG-29s and now they’re returning to combat alongside other Ukrainian MiG-29s plus Su-27s, Su-25s, Mi-24 gunships and some Soviet-era drones. The separatists have shot down several Ukrainian aircraft.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense just released the above photo of the first MiG-29 to be re-assembled and brought back to operational status. The old jet isn’t much to look at, but it is evidence of Kiev’s determination to fight.