On 27 December 2022, Oleksiyy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, reported that Russia had relocated long range aviation (LRA) Tu-95MS BEAR heavy bombers and Tu-22M3 BACKFIRE medium bombers to Russia’s far east, British intelligence reports.
On 5 and 26 December 2022, the LRA’s Engels air base was struck and several aircraft damaged. Russia has highly likely responded to the incidents by conducting a general dispersal of LRA aircraft, especially to airfields further away from Ukraine.
The LRA will still be able to fire air launched cruise missiles into Ukraine because the weapons have a 5000km 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.