Blasts at Russia’s Engels airfield complicate missile attacks on Ukraine, says UK intelligence

5 January, 12:20 PM
Satellite photo of the Russian Engels Air Base (Photo:Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS)

Satellite photo of the Russian Engels Air Base (Photo:Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS)

A series of recent unexplained explosions at the Engels-2 airfield in Russia, thought by many to have been Ukrainian drone attacks, have complicated Russia’s campaign of missile attacks on Ukraine, the UK’s Defense Intelligence wrote on Twitter on Jan. 5.

The department in its daily summary noted that Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, reported on Dec. 27, 2022, that Russia had relocated Tu-95MS heavy bombers and Tu-22M3 medium bombers to Russia’s far east.

On Dec. 5 and Dec. 26, 2022, the Engels-2 air base was struck and several aircraft damaged. Russia has highly likely responded to the incidents by conducting a general dispersal of its bomber aircraft, especially to airfields further away from Ukraine, the agency said.

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According to UK intelligence, Russia’s bomber fleet will still be able to fire air launched cruise missiles into Ukraine because the weapons have a 5,000-kilometer range, in addition to the flight range of the bombers.

“However, operating from dispersal locations will add additional maintenance stress and will further deplete the limited flying hours available on these aging aircraft,” the report says.

An unknown aircraft crashed on the runway of the Engels-2 airfield in Saratov Oblast on the morning of Dec. 5. Satellite images recorded damage to at least one Tu-95 bomber.

Another powerful explosion rocked the Engels-2 airfield overnight on Dec. 26, killing at least three Russian soldiers.

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