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Ukraine conflict: Kyiv strikes deep into Russia

A Tu-22M bomber of the type damaged in a strike on Ryazan-Dyagilevo airbase. Two Tu-95s were also reported damaged after Engels-2 airbase was hit on the same day. (Tupolev)

Ukraine has conducted a series of airstrikes deep into Russian territory, targeting strategic bomber bases and a military airfield.

Strikes were recorded at three locations hundreds of kilometres inside Russia on 5 and 6 December, resulting in some casualties, as well as damaged aircraft and facilities.

Engels-2 and Ryazan-Dyagilevo airbases were struck within hours of each other on 5 December, with Kursk Airport coming under attack on 6 December. Engels-2 is about 600 km east of Ukrainian controlled territory, and home to Tupolev Tu-95 ‘Bear' and Tu-160 ‘Blackjack' bombers, while Ryazan-Dyagilevo is about 500 km east of Ukrainian controlled territory, and home to Tupolev Tu-22M ‘Backfire' bombers and Ilyushin Il-78 ‘Midas' aerial refuelling aircraft. Kursk Airport is about 250 km east of Ukrainian controlled territory, with no military aircraft permanently stationed there.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the Russian Federation acknowledged that the attacks on the bases had occurred, admitting to two bombers being “lightly damaged” and three service personnel killed (independent reports and imagery posted online suggest two Tu-95s at Engels-2 and one Tu-22M at Ryazan-Dyagilevo were damaged). At the time of publication, there had been no announcement related to the Kursk Airport attack, but imagery posted online showed an oil storage facility on fire.

Under the command of Russian Aerospace Forces' (VKS) Long Range Aviation (LRA), both Engels-2 and Ryazan-Dyagilevo airbases have been launch pads for stand-off Kh‐101, Kh-55, and Kh‐555 cruise missile attacks against Ukraine.

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