Ukraine carries out 'coordinated strikes' against military airbase inside Russia

By Isaac M April 5, 2024

Ukraine has conducted “coordinated strikes” overnight against a military airbase inside Russia, targeting Russian fighter planes, a Ukrainian source has told Sky News.

The operation, which took place early on Friday morning, included attacks against Russian SU-34 fighter-bombers, which have been used by the Russian military to hit Ukrainian forces in Ukraine, the military source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Map showing the Morozovsk airfield
Map showing the Morozovsk airfield

“The Morozovsk military airfield hosts potent fast jet capabilities, SU-34s, which launch strikes on to frontline Ukrainian troops,” the source said.

“This strike will impede Russia’s ability to conduct such strikes in the future and allow Ukrainian troops to push back Russian ground forces with a reduced threat of air attack.”

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There has been no official confirmation of the strikes against the airfield by either Ukraine or Russia.

But the Russian defence ministry was quoted by local media as saying Russian air defences downed 53 Ukrainian drones overnight, most of them over the Rostov region. This is where the Morozovsk airfield is located.

The airbase has been the staging post for Russian bombings on the frontline since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in 2022.

It is home to the 559th Bomber Aviation Regiment within the 1st Guards Composite Aviation Division.

A satellite image of the Morozovsk airbase taken on 28 March. Pic: Planet Labs PBC
A satellite image of the Morozovsk airbase taken on 28 March. Pic: Planet Labs PBC

This unit has three squadrons of SU-34s which are regularly used to bomb Ukrainian forces on the frontline.

Ukraine typically does not comment on attacks inside Russia.

But earlier this week, a Ukrainian drone struck Russia’s third-largest oil refinery on Tuesday about 1,300 km (800 miles) from the front lines, hitting a unit that processes about 155,000 barrels of crude per day.

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A Ukrainian intelligence source said Ukraine hit the primary refining unit at the oil refinery in Russia’s highly industrialised Tatarstan region and caused a fire.

Such attacks are intended to reduce Russia’s oil revenue, the source said.

The head of the Ukrainian navy told Sky News earlier this year that Ukraine would win the war faster if it had permission to fire British and other Western weapons against targets deep inside Russia.

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Vice Admiral Oleksiy Neizhpapa said the course of the entire conflict would have been very different had Ukrainian forces been allowed to use Western munitions without restrictions from the very beginning.

The UK, US and other allies only agreed to start giving Ukraine longer-range missiles last year.

Ukrainian forces have used them to hit targets in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine but not deep inside Russia amid concerns about escalation.


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