What you’re seeing is a probable Russian FLANKER or FULLBACK execute a good old-fashioned Level S maneuver while simultaneously dispensing flares. The Level S has been around since Billy Mitchell and Baron von Richthofen. Yet it remains an effective tactic to kinematically defeat air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.
The idea is that your maneuver bleeds kinematic energy from the incoming missile, ultimately forcing it to miss at or before endgame. Your flares increase your survivability by confusing the infrared-guided missile coming up at you. People often call them “heat seeking”. They’re not. Infrared guided missiles track on infrared intensity. Heat is simply a byproduct of that intensity.
In this case, owing to the pilot’s low altitude and dangerously low airspeed, he was almost certainly Level S-ing and dispensing flares to preemptively defeat MANPADS he can’t see but suspects are targeting him (recall MANPADS is a shoulder-fired, infrared missile).
Tactically, it’s basic blocking and tackling. But effective.
1, i think Mariupol falls this week. Defenders are low on supplies and lack the means to resist. Hope it goes more than a week, wouldn't surprise me.
2, we are seeing limited UKR counterattacks S of Kharkiv and in the Kherson area. The Russians are under significant pressure in Kherson, this could weaken their offensive in the Donbas.
3, the Russians have been conducting limited attacks in the Donbas. I am curious if this is what they can do (as we saw near Kyiv they could not really attack with more than 1x battalion at a time) or if they will try and launch an attack on multiple axes with multiple divisions simultaneously. I think the former is more likely than the latter. If they do the former, they will not win as they will not be able to mass the combat power in time and space required to defeat large UKR units. If they do the latter they have a reasonable chance at success. I also wonder how much the casualties will affect their ability to launch an offensive in the Donbas, i.e. do they have the capability to do so at this point.