Russia has transferred its strategic bombers thousands of miles away to the Far East following Ukrainian drone strikes at Engels airfield last month, a senior Ukrainian official revealed.
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov said that Moscow had moved its Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 bombers to Primorsky Krai, 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles) away from the border with Ukraine.
“The enemy began to hide them. They understand that Ukraine can get them deep into the territory of the Russian Federation,” Russian and Ukrainian outlets quoted Danilov as saying.
“Now they have driven them to the Primorsky Krai, but if necessary, we will also reach the Far East.”
Six Tu-95s Moved
The long-range aircraft have been operating from Engels, around 700 kilometers (435 miles) from Ukraine, targeting Ukrainian infrastructure since October. The Saratov Oblast base also houses a squadron of supersonic Tu-160 Blackjack bombers.
An estimated six Tupolev Tu-95 ‘Bear’ aircraft have reportedly been moved out of Engels, home to the 326th Heavy Bomber Division and the 182nd Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment of the Russian Aerospace Forces.
Engels Attacked Three Times
Ukraine attacked the Dyagilevo and Engels air bases on December 5, killing three Russian soldiers and damaging at least one Tu-22M3 and possibly a Tu-95MS.
Kyiv modified a Soviet-made Tu-141 Strizh reconnaissance drone into a strike platform to carry out the task.
On December 26, Russian air defense reportedly shot down another Ukrainian drone approaching Engels. Drone debris reportedly fell onto Russian technical servicemen, killing three and injuring four.
A few days later, Russian air defense again shot down a Ukrainian drone approaching the base without injuries or damage.
Satellite imagery obtained by The Warzone last week revealed a reduction in activity at Engels.
As Ukraine comes under massive Russian missile attack, Russia's Engels-2 air base seems to be coming under attack as well. Russia attacks civilians, Ukraine attacks military targets. https://t.co/KKamh2mrDC
— Euan MacDonald (@Euan_MacDonald) December 29, 2022