The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense has officially claimed responsibility for sabotaging three Russian bombers, Tu-22M3, in the summer of 2023.
Russia has used its Tu-22M3 aircraft to target Ukrainian cities and villages with Kh-22 long-range anti-ship missiles. The Kh-22 cruise missile has a warhead mass of about 950 kilograms and a maximum range of up to 600 kilometers.
As deviation from the target can reach hundreds of meters, Russia uses it mostly to terrorize Ukrainian civilians.
In December 2023, Spokesman for the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Yuri Ihnat said Russia launched at least 300 such missiles on Ukraine, and none of them were intercepted. Kyiv needs the most modern air defense systems to shoot down Kh-22 missiles, such as a Patriot air defense missile system, he stressed.
The intelligence operation took place at the military airfield “Soltsy” in the Novgorod Oblast of Russia under the command of reconnaissance officer Oleh Babii.
Then, he and his unit infiltrated deep into enemy territory in August 2023, covering over 600 km on foot to carry out a special combat mission: to halt terrorist aerial assaults by Russians on Ukrainian cities.
The reconnaissance team managed to destroy one Russian Tu-22M3 aircraft and incapacitate two others. However, they themselves suffered irreparable losses.
“Returning to the controlled territory of Ukraine, the reconnaissance group led by Colonel Oleh Babii fell into an ambush and engaged in an unequal battle with Russian invaders.
In this battle on 30 August 2023, covering the retreat of his comrades, Ukrainian reconnaissance officer Lieutenant Colonel Oleh Babii sustained a fatal injury,” said the Main Intelligence Directorate.
For this heroic operation, Oleh Babii was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine and received a “Golden Star” order.
According to the reports spread in media on 19 August 2023, the military airfield “Soltsy” in Russia was attacked by drones. The Ukrainian intelligence said two Tu-22M3 aircraft were destroyed, and two others were damaged.
On 22 August, British intelligence claimed that Ukrainian attacks on Russian military objects could have been launched from Russian territory.
“It is unlikely that drones have a sufficient operating radius to reach the Soltsy-2 facility from beyond Russia’s borders,” the British intelligence said at that time.
In its 14 January missile attack on Ukraine, Russia demolished an apartment block in Dnipro with Kh-22 missiles.
According to the Air Force, five Kh-22 cruise missiles were launched from five Russian Tu-22m3 long-range bombers above the Kursk Oblast and the Sea of Azov on 14 January.
Earlier in the day, Ukraine’s Air Force spokesman, Yurii Ihnat, said that Russia fired the same type of missile on a shopping mall in Kremenchuk this summer.
Russians fired missiles at a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, where more than 1,000 civilians could have been at the time, "The number of victims is hard to imagine" – Zelenskyyhttps://t.co/gjbomaOgWL https://t.co/vH4hUAZhT9 pic.twitter.com/mkBpS8vZv6
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) June 27, 2022