Ukrainian forces have executed a pivotal drone strike against Moscow’s strategically important long-range bomber, the Tupolev Tu-22, stationed at the Soltsy-2 airbase amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict that continues to strain both sides’ capabilities as they vie for dominance.
The successful strike resulted in the destruction of the Tu-22 bomber, a critical asset used by Russia to launch attacks on Ukrainian cities.
The Tu-22 strategic bomber possessed the capability to reach speeds twice that of sound, making it a crucial tool for Russia’s assaults on Ukrainian territories.
The drone attack, carried out by a helicopter-type UAV, occurred around 10:00 Moscow time (08:00 BST) on a Saturday, according to a statement from the Russian Ministry of Defence.
The statement from the Ministry of Defence described the targeted site as “a military airfield in the Novgorod region,” the location of Soltsy-2 airbase. The ministry revealed that the UAV was detected by the airfield’s surveillance post and was subsequently engaged with small-arms fire.
While one aircraft sustained damage, there were no casualties resulting from the incident. The statement also emphasized the swift containment of a fire that erupted in the airfield’s parking area.
This attack by Ukraine underscores the country’s capacity and strength in mounting counteroffensives, a development that was eagerly anticipated following President Volodymyr Zelensky’s earlier commitment to take the war into Russian territories this month.
Recent instances of Ukraine employing drones to strike Moscow have shown a marked increase.
Prosecutors in Kyiv disclosed that in January, a missile launched from a Tu-22 struck a residential block in Dnipro, resulting in the deaths of 30 individuals. The attack was attributed to Russia’s 52nd Guards Bomber Aviation Regiment, based at Soltsy-2.
Ukraine’s defence intelligence service spokesperson confirmed Monday that another military aircraft had sustained damage in a drone attack in Russia’s Kaluga region.
Russian media also reported the attack, quoting the defence ministry’s assertion that the nation’s air defenses had intercepted an aircraft en route to Moscow. This interception thwarted a subsequent “Ukrainian” attempt to strike the Russian capital.
In a separate statement issued hours later, the Russian Ministry of Defence reported the downing of another UAV over the Istra district of the Moscow Region at 8:16 am on Monday.