Russian fighter aircraft have begun to escort President Vladimir Putin’s flights as he visits Russian regions, the Agentstvo media site reports. One such event was noticed during his visit to Yakutsk on Tuesday, June 18.

During this trip, residents from the Russian city filmed the arrival of Putin’s version of “Air Force One” accompanied by at least one Su-30SM multirole fighter aircraft.

The Su-30SM is a fourth-generation $33 million, Russian multi-role fighter aircraft. It is designed to win air superiority, long-range patrolling, long-range aircraft escort, radar surveillance, targeting and control.

Prior to this the use of fighter escorts was limited exclusively to foreign visits.

Andriy Yusov, a representative of Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (НUR), told Kyiv Post that this was not the first time, adding that “it has become standard practice of late.” When asked what the Russian President was afraid of, Yusov simply answered – “everything.”

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In December 2023, the Russian Defense Ministry published footage of Su-35 air defense aircraft accompanying Putin's plane during a flight to the UAE. At the time, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained that this was done for security reasons, because “the region is turbulent and full of danger and unpredictability.”

Putin has been regularly accompanied by fighter jets on trips to Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

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According to a Kremlin source cited in the Moscow Times and a report in the local Skat newspaper that during a visit to Kyrgyzstan in October 2023 mobile communications and internet links in the capital, Bishkek, were disrupted because of the fear of a drone attack against Putin, and all civilian cars were prohibited on the route from the airport to the Kyrgyz president’s residence.

In January 2024, before Putin's visit to Kaliningrad, Peskov was asked whether the president would be accompanied by fighter jets, a question he avoided answering.

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In early June, two officials and a source close to the Kremlin said that Putin had begun to wear a bulletproof vest during outdoor public events, on the recommendation of Russian intelligence services. A British security consultant, who examined video footage of Putin at the May 9 Victory Parade concluded that he was definitely wearing body armor under his clothing.

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