Attacks on Engels and Dyagilevo airfields may be Russian strategical failures, says UK intelligence

6 December 2022, 01:52 PM
British intelligence assessed strikes on Dyagilevo and Engels military airfields (

British intelligence assessed strikes on Dyagilevo and Engels military airfields (

The explosions at Russia’s Engels and Dyagilevo military airfields on Dec. 5 could be among the most strategically significant failures of the Russian military since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the UK’s Defense Intelligence wrote in its daily summary on Twitter on Dec. 6.

The department said the causes of the explosions have not been yet confirmed.

“However, if Russia assesses these incidents as a deliberate attack, it will likely consider them to be among the most strategically significant failures of its defenses since its invasion of Ukraine,” the report said.

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The agency said both airfields are located much deeper in the territory of the Russian Federation that other targets Ukraine has previously attacked in Russia: Engels is located 600 km from the nearest territory controlled by Ukraine.

Engels is the main operational base of the Russian long-range aviation in western Russia, where more than 30 heavy aircraft bombers are based.

“These aircraft contribute to Russia’s nuclear deterrent and have also frequently been used to launch conventional cruise missiles over Ukraine,” the summary states.

UK intelligence said it assumed that after the incident, Russia would temporarily transfer the bombers to a dispersion airfield.

"The Russian chain of command will probably seek to identify and impose severe sanctions on Russian officers deemed responsible for allowing the incident,” the agency added.

An unknown aircraft crashed on the runway of the Engels-1 airfield in Saratov Oblast on the morning of Dec. 5.

In addition, a fuel truck caught fire at Dyagilevo airfield near the city of Ryazan, causing an explosion.

Russian Defense Ministry said that as a result of the incidents at the airfields, three Russian servicemen were killed and four more were injured.

In what appears to be a similar incident, there were reports of a drone attack on an airfield in Kursk in Russia in the morning of Dec. 6.

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