Ukrainian forces are able to strike Russia’s occupation troops at any place in occupied Crimea, Kyrylo Budanov, Head of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate or HUR, said in an interview with Radio Svoboda (RFE/RL) on Aug. 23.
“We have the ability to strike any part of the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea now,” Budanov said. “We can reach the enemy in absolutely any part (of the peninsula).”
Budanov said that those who have "done bad things” had better leave the territory. And those who are waiting (for the area to return to the control of Ukraine), have to prepare and do everything to support the intelligence agencies and the troops when they openly enter the territory."
He said there are various options for the de-occupation of Crimea, but "without military actions, it's impossible."
Budanov also noted the losses the Russian Air Force has suffered in its war against Ukraine, saying that after recent drone strikes on Russian airfields in Soltsy and Shaykovka, Moscow now has no more than 27 operational strategic Tu-22M3 bombers.
He said that as a result of drone strikes on Russia’s Soltsy and Shaykovka air bases, two of the bombers were completely destroyed, while two more were damaged but would probably eventually be repaired.
“They had around 31 working Tu-22s, now they have 29, minus two that will need repairs, meaning 27. So, not many that can actually fly,” Budanov said.
Russia no longer produces the Soviet-era Tu-22 aircraft.
The HUR head said that the strikes on the Russian air bases were conducted by "individuals who carried out certain tasks from the territory of the Russian Federation."
A total of 436 Russian aircraft are involved in the military campaign against Ukraine, Budanov said.
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