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Russia builds new airstrip 75 km from Ukrainian border

Satellite imagery has uncovered an airfield under construction in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast that analysts believe could support attack aircraft and helicopters for Moscow’s Ukraine operations.
New airfield in Alexeyevka,
A new airfield in Alexeyevka, a military logistics hub in Belgorod Oblast, Russia. Credit: @RedIntelPanda
Russia builds new airstrip 75 km from Ukrainian border

Satellite images show that Russia is constructing a new airfield approximately 9km west of Alexeyevka, a military logistics hub in the Belgorod Oblast, an Osint analyst reported on X.

According to the analysis, Russians cut a road to the location in July 2023. They completed grading for the runway by the start of winter.

The new airfield in Alexeyevka, a military logistics hub in Belgorod Oblast, Russia. Credit: @RedIntelPanda
The new airfield in Alexeyevka, a military logistics hub in Belgorod Oblast, Russia. Credit: @RedIntelPanda

After the winter thaw, work has resumed on the site, the analyst said. “On 27 April 2024, a base layer or paving itself is ongoing on the runway,” the report states, citing an animated image that shows this work starting around the beginning of April.

Satellite imagery analysis from Sentinel Hub measures the runway at about 1800 meters in length. While not massive, the report argues “it can support various types of aircraft.”

Russia’s Alexeyevka falls within a Russian-declared “danger area” for civilian aircraft due to Russia’s war in Ukraine. “Plotting the coordinates circles Ukraine and bordering parts of Russia,” the analysis said, suggesting the airfield’s purpose is likely military.

The report said the new airfield “may be a fallback location for Russian helicopters to operate from” after “the number of helicopters at the forward base in Rovenki, Belgorod was greatly reduced” late in 2023. Relocating from Rovenki to the Buturlinovka air base in the Voronezh Oblast would add around 150km to missions toward the Kupiansk direction of the front, whereas Alexeyevka is only about 25km further than Rovenki.

However, the runway “could support fixed-wing aircraft such as light transports and VIP (An-26, An-72) and even Su-25 attack jets,” the report states.

Russia’s Alexeyevka already serves as “a Russian logistics hub for its war effort in Ukraine,” including fuel transport, storage, and a rail operation to support the new airfield. The region also hosts “a Russian tactical vehicle modification and up-armoring facility” and “a Russian Army vehicle repair site” that services damaged vehicles before returning them to the front lines.

“An Il-76 transport could deliver supplies or personnel to the Alexeyevka strip and take off near empty,” the analyst said.

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