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Ukraine’s Intelligence chief says how many strategic bombers remain operational in Russia after Ukraine’s recent attacks

ukraine chief of the main intelligence directorate
Kyrylo Budanov, the chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Source: Armyinform

Head of Ukraine’s Intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, said in an interview with Radio Free Europe that Russia has only 27 TU-22 strategic bombers that are still operational. Recent Ukrainian attacks on two Russian airfields destroyed two and damaged two more bombers.

According to Budanov, 436 Russian aircraft in total are participating in air operations against Ukraine.

It’s a lot,” he said. “But if you ask how many Tu-22s are among them, there will be only a few. They had about 31 serviceable Tu-22s left, now 29 – and minus two more of those that will be under repair, i.e., 27. That is, there are not so many that are actually flying.

According to him, during operations at the Russian military airfields Soltsy (Nizhny Novgorod Oblast) and Shaykovka (Kaluzya Oblast), two TU-22 planes were completely destroyed, and two more were damaged.

The two damaged ones will be repaired over time, this must also be understood,” Budanov emphasized.

Still, he said, the operation will decrease Russia’s ability to fire X-22 cruise missiles against Ukraine. This is especially crucial during the approaching heating season when Russia will try to destroy Ukraine’s energy system again.

Russian missiles Kh-22
Kh-22 under a Tu-22M3. Photo: Wikipedia

According to Budanov, in the recent operation, “certain people conducted certain actions from the territory of the Russian Federation,” destroying TU-22 bombers.

On 19 August, the Russian Ministry of Defense said there was a drone attack on the Soltsy military airfield in the Novgorod region. The ministry later admitted that “one aircraft was damaged,” although available photos showed it was completely destroyed.

burning Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bomber at the Soltsy airbase in Russia’s Novgorod Oblast after a Ukrainian attack on 19 August. Credit: Unian TG channel

Presumably, drone operators launched drones from a close distance near the airfield. This version is especially relevant given that unknown persons raised the flag of Ukraine right next to the local FSB office after the attack.

Frontline report: Ukraine struck one of the Russian airfields used by strategic bombers Tu-22

Frontline report: Ukrainians launch strikes on Russian rear, Russian propagandists spread fakes to distract

Earlier, in December 2022, Ukraine attacked Russian strategic air bases in the city of Engels and the Ryazan region. Recently, drones have also been attacking Russian territories, in particular Moscow.

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