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"Cotton" drives Russians to hysteria: which Russian air bases were hit by Ukrainian drones and why the enemy's losses are so painful

Ukraine strikes at Russian military bases and airfields. Illustrative photo. Source: rosmedia

Recently, the Ukrainian Defense Forces have seriously sharpened the "oil needle" of the aggressor state with precision strikes on Russian refineries: according to various estimates, they managed to "knock out" from 10 to more than 15% of the production capacity of the Russian oil refining complex. However, Ukrainian strikes on Russian air bases and military airfields were no less spectacular and painful for Russia.

On the night of April 5 alone, according to intelligence, six enemy tactical aircraft could have been destroyed and eight damaged at the Morozovsk airfield in Rostov Oblast, and this was not the only strike in recent times. OBOZ.UA investigated where else Ukraine has recently "clipped the wings" of the enemy army, what losses it has caused for the enemy, and how far Ukrainian drones can now reach.

In the war against Ukraine, Russia is actively using military aircraft that take off from airfields both in Russia and in the occupied part of Ukraine. At the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, the occupiers also used Belarusian airfields for this purpose.

From all possible sites, the invaders take their fighters and bombers into the sky to launch missiles and bombs at the positions of Ukrainian soldiers, civilians, and critical infrastructure.

It is not surprising that air bases and military airfields have been high on the list of targets for destruction from the very beginning.

And in this area, Ukrainian forces have made remarkable achievements, no matter how hard the Russian authorities try to conceal the real extent of losses and destruction.

Morozovsk airfield in the Rostov region

The night of April 5 was an explosive night for residents of the Rostov region, particularly those living near the city of Morozovsk. According to local residents, they heard explosions at night and saw numerous flashes in the area of the military airfield of the same name.

And Ukrainians were waiting with bated breath for information about the results of the night's "fireworks," because, according to satellite images, almost 30 Russian aircraft were based at the airport the day before, on April 4.

Official statements from local authorities were predictably disappointing: Rostov Region Governor Vasily Golubev boasted of "shooting down" "more than 40 UAVs" over the Morozovsk district, complained about damage to a power plant, and kept silent about the airfield.

This "gap" in informing the Russian population was filled by the Ukrainian special services, whose sources reported that at least six Russian aircraft were destroyed at the airfield at night, and about eight more were damaged. These are Su-27s and Su-34s from which Russia has been dropping bombs on Ukraine. They were "thinned out" as part of a joint operation by the SSU and the military of the Defense Forces.

The minimum distance from Morozovsk to the contact line in Ukraine is about 270-290 kilometers.

''Cotton'' drives Russians to hysteria: which Russian air bases were hit by Ukrainian drones and why the enemy's losses are so painful
''Cotton'' drives Russians to hysteria: which Russian air bases were hit by Ukrainian drones and why the enemy's losses are so painful

Yeysk, Engels and Kursk

While the local authorities in Morozovsk acknowledged at least some damage, in other Russian cities, where explosions also occurred on the night of April 5, they were shy about the consequences of the "cotton".

Meanwhile, according to OBOZ.UA sources, the MID, together with the Armed Forces, attacked the airfield in the city of Yeysk: a drone destroyed two Su-25 aircraft and four invaders.

The distance from Ukrainian Mariupol to Yeysk is just over 70 kilometers across the Azov Sea. However, Mariupol is currently under Russian occupation, so Ukrainian soldiers would have to attack Yeysk from at least 140 kilometers away.

''Cotton'' drives Russians to hysteria: which Russian air bases were hit by Ukrainian drones and why the enemy's losses are so painful

According to preliminary data, 3 Tu-95MS strategic bombers were seriously damaged at Engels-2 airfield. Seven occupants were eliminated, including pilots of strategic bombers.

In addition, 7 enemy personnel, including strategic bomber pilots, have been preliminarily reported killed.

To get there, the drone flew at least over 600 kilometers.

''Cotton'' drives Russians to hysteria: which Russian air bases were hit by Ukrainian drones and why the enemy's losses are so painful

The airfield in Kursk was also attacked at night, but the results are still being clarified. However, at night, terrified Russians posted videos of a massive fire at the arrival site.

If we are talking about the "Khalino" airfield northeast of Kursk, it is about 100 kilometers from the extreme point on the Ukrainian border in the Sumy region.

''Cotton'' drives Russians to hysteria: which Russian air bases were hit by Ukrainian drones and why the enemy's losses are so painful

Crimea, "Belbek" airfield

Unlike Morozovsk and the other Russian cities attacked by drones on April 5, missiles flew to the "Belbek" airfield in the temporarily occupied Crimea on January 31. At least three Russian aircraft were hit at the airport, which was once home to Ukrainian aviation and has been used by the invaders since 2014 for their purposes and against Ukraine.

But the Russians didn't get away with the planes. Analysts examined satellite images and concluded that two missiles hit the command post of the 38th Fighter Aviation Regiment, and another missile flew directly into the airfield's communications center.

According to OSINT investigators, the attackers probably hit an underground command post, a communications center, and a radar station that supported the operation of the S-400 "Triumph" air defense system. Fuel and ammunition depots are also located nearby.

''Cotton'' drives Russians to hysteria: which Russian air bases were hit by Ukrainian drones and why the enemy's losses are so painful

The Russian Ministry of Defense did not change its tradition and reported that "twenty missiles" allegedly flying over Crimea were "shot down" at the time. Moreover, according to the aggressor state, they were shot down by air defense systems, not by the airfield itself.

In total, this was at least the third arrival at "Belbek" during the full-scale war.

The distance that a Ukrainian missile would have to fly to hit the "Belbek" airfield is at least 229 kilometers from Kherson, where it would have to fly over the Russian-occupied territories, or about 290 kilometers if it were launched from the coast of Odesa so that the maximum part of the route would be over the sea.

''Cotton'' drives Russians to hysteria: which Russian air bases were hit by Ukrainian drones and why the enemy's losses are so painful
''Cotton'' drives Russians to hysteria: which Russian air bases were hit by Ukrainian drones and why the enemy's losses are so painful

Crimea, "Saki" airfield

In particular, on January 6, the planes flew to Novofedorivka in the temporarily occupied Crimea. At that time, Russian air defense was operating near the "Saki" airfield, and locals heard explosions.

At the time of the attack, the 43rd Fighter Aviation Regiment of the Russian Air Force was based at this airfield.

The Defense Forces' strike destroyed the airfield's radar. And in the Crimean village of Hryshyno, ammunition depots were blown up at the same time, Ukrainian military intelligence claimed.

''Cotton'' drives Russians to hysteria: which Russian air bases were hit by Ukrainian drones and why the enemy's losses are so painful

The minimum distance to the "Saki" airfield from the government-controlled territories of Ukraine is 188 km.

''Cotton'' drives Russians to hysteria: which Russian air bases were hit by Ukrainian drones and why the enemy's losses are so painful

Pskov

Ukrainians also surprised Russians on the night of August 30, 2023. Then explosions were heard on the territory of the Pskov airport, which is used by both civilian and military Russian aviation. The governor of the Pskov region did not deny it and confirmed that the airport had been targeted by drones. However, he did not provide details about the consequences of the attack.

Instead, the MID quickly disclosed the results of the nighttime "raid": four Il-76s were destroyed and could not be restored. Two more enemy aircraft may have been damaged.

The distance from the extreme point of Ukraine's border to Pskov is more than 600 kilometers.

''Cotton'' drives Russians to hysteria: which Russian air bases were hit by Ukrainian drones and why the enemy's losses are so painful

Other attacks by Ukraine and their consequences for the enemy

On December 5, 2022, as a result of explosions at two airfields, "Engels" in the Saratov region and "Diagilevo" in the Ryazan region, the Russian army lost two Tu-95 strategic aircraft used to launch long-range missiles at Ukraine, a Tu-22M3 bomber, and a fuel tanker. Ukraine's military intelligence used modified Soviet Tu-141 "Strizh" UAVs to hit targets hundreds of kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

August 2022 brought the first breath of war to the Novgorod region of the Russian Federation. "The "cotton" was delivered to the "Soltsy" military airfield, located 800 kilometers from the border with Ukraine. Intelligence claims that two Tu-22M strategic bombers were destroyed and two other aircraft were damaged.

What can we say about the "Baltimore" airfield in the Voronezh region, which is much closer to Ukraine than the Pskov and Novgorod airfields. This base has been hit at least three times by the Ukrainian Defense Forces with Su-34s, which are actively used in the war against Ukraine.

However, while "Baltimore" did not disclose any reliable data on the consequences of the strike, the occupiers lost at least one Su-24 on August 16 at the "Hvardiyske" air base in the temporarily occupied Crimea.

British intelligence is convinced that Ukraine's attacks on the occupiers' air bases have been a painful blow to the invaders. It is not only costly for Russia to restore its military fleet, but also extremely difficult.

An additional "bonus" of such strikes, in particular against facilities in Crimea, is the reduction of awareness and cover of Russian air defense over the occupied peninsula. In addition, Russia is slowly losing its ability to conduct air strikes against Ukraine.

Therefore, each such strike makes the return of the occupied territories of our country a little closer.

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