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Source: one bomber destroyed, two damaged by Ukrainian drone attack at Engels base

Earlier, intelligence sources told Ukrainian media that three Tu-95MS aircraft were damaged at the major Russian bomber base
Russian missiles rain down on Ukraine: Kyiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Zaporizhzhia under fire
Rusia’s Tu-95MS. Photo: Defense Express, for illustrative purposes only
Source: one bomber destroyed, two damaged by Ukrainian drone attack at Engels base

Ukraine’s 5 April combined drone attack on Engels airfield, previously reported to have seriously damaged three Tu-95 MS bombers, resulted in one of these bombers being destroyed while two could be repaired, a source familiar with the matter told Euromaidan Press.

The attack, carried out against Engels, Morozovsk, and Yeysk airfields, is one of Ukraine’s largest-yet. The damage testifies to the growing effectiveness of Ukraine’s long-range drone program, developed amid the West’s prohibition on striking objects on Russian soil.

Ukrainian drones attack Russian airfields
Map of Ukraine’s reported strikes at Russian airbases

Ukrainian security sources told Ukrainian media after the strike that the Ukrainian drone strikes significantly damaged three Tu-95MS strategic bombers at Engels airbase, damaged two Su-25 fixed-wing aircraft at the airbase near Yeysk, and destroyed six unidentified aircraft and significantly damaged another eight unidentified aircraft at the Morozovsk Airbase.

One of the three Tu-95MS bombers at Engels base is damaged beyond repair in the operation conducted by Ukraine’s Security Service and Special Forces Operations; the other two can be repaired, the source, who asked to remain unnamed, told Euromaidan Press.

Tu-95 bombers were regularly involved in large-scale missile attacks against Ukraine, launching Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles at targets in Ukraine. The Russian military had roughly 60 Tu-95 aircraft as of 2023.

According to earlier reports by Ukrainian media citing their intelligence sources, the Ukrainian strikes reportedly killed four Russian military personnel at the airbase near Yeysk and seven Russian personnel at the Engels Airbase and wounded and killed up to 20 Russian personnel at the Morozovsk Airbase.

The Institute for Study of War, which noted that it had not yet seen open-source proof of damage to the aircraft at the bases, stated that this combined attack on three airfields is a “notable inflection” in Ukraine’s capability to strike Russian military infrastructure and strategic industries.

Russian forces routinely use Tu-95 strategic bombers stationed at Engels Airbase to launch Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles at targets in Ukraine, and the Russian military had roughly 60 Tu-95 aircraft as of 2023.

Previous Ukrainian attacks at Engels airbase

Forced to grapple with the barrage of Russian missile strikes on its own terms, Ukraine launched a long-range drone program, with which it now regularly strikes Russian airbases, military production sites, and oil processing infrastructure.

Particularly, the airfield in Engels, a major bomber operations base of the Russian Aerospace Forces, has experienced Ukrainian drone attacks since December 2022.

On 5 December 2022, Engels, Saratov Oblast was targeted, resulting in damage to aircraft and losses in personnel.

Three weeks later, on December 26, the same military airbase in Engels was attacked for the second time in a row, and three days later, yet again.

On 10 January 2024, two Ukrainian drones had reportedly penetrated the airfield’s airspace.

Engels was struck again on 20 March 2024, with the extent of damage unclear.

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