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The War in Ukraine Heats up as Drones Attack Russian Airbase Only 100 Miles From Moscow

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Ukrainian drones attacked deep within Russia for the second night running to strike airbases used by Russia’s strategic bomber aircraft fleet. These strikes are in response to the long-running cruise missile attack on Ukraine’s civil electrical and water infrastructure, launched by bombers from these bases.

Sunday night saw drones strike airfields at Engels’ airbase near Saratov, causing damage to one or more Tu95 “Bears” strategic bombers. The Dyagilevo Airbase was also attacked, just 100 miles from Moscow’s suburbs. It sustained damage to one or more Tu-22 strategic bombers (Backfire) or Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers. The Engels airbase lies 400 miles from Ukrainian territory. The Dyagilevo base is more than 300 miles away. Monday night, the Ukrainian border was crossed by the airfield a Kursk. The tank farm was set ablaze at the Kursk.

Location of Attacks

Images at Engels Airbase Complex

Images at Dyagilevo Airbase Complex

Images from Kursk Airbase

Although the weapon being considered is a modified reconnaissance UAV (or UAV), it is still speculative.

It is my opinion that it is better than 50-50 to have the Kursk attack. Based on the distance from Ukraine and the damage done, this is a special operation mission, not a long-range drone strike. The Ukrainian Special Forces raided a Russian Airbase 400 miles from Ukraine, but only 20 miles from Latvia in early November. They destroyed or damaged four Russian helicopters.

My view is that there are many moving parts.

It seems that there were only a few weapons being used. At Dyagilevo, one weapon was available. Although I am certain there is a shortage, I suspect that the weaponry available is more than two. I believe the Ukrainians were trying to send a message to Russia by continuing to use its strategic bomber force against civilian targets.

These attacks were a political setback for the Russian regime. These weapons flew unnoticed through hundreds of miles of Russian airspace, hitting high-value aircraft belonging to Russia’s nuclear trinity at extremely secure airbases. There was no air raid alert. No interceptors were activated. Air defense missile batteries did not respond. It is not fair to say that Russian social media went crazy. There was as much anger directed toward the Russian military as there was a demand to nuke the Ukrainian subhumans. Even considering the extremely low level of competence that the Russian military has set over the past nine-plus months, this was a poor performance.

I think that this attack also has to be seen as a message to Washington. Ukraine has been campaigning to get the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System. This system, launched from the HIMARS or the M270 MLRS, which are already in service in the Ukrainian Army, has a range of 190 miles. That would put all Russian logistics operations for the “Special Military Operation” at risk and bring the war to a screeching halt. However, the Pentagon has been reluctant to send those missiles to Ukraine because they want control of the targets Ukraine will hit. They also fear that giving Ukraine a weapon system that can strike deep inside Russia would be seen as an “escalator.” It’s one thing when Putin’s minions on Twitter and in our comments section get a case of the squirts over what Putin “might” do (SPOILER ALERT: it is always “He’s got nukes. He’ll use them. World War III!!), it is quite another when the alleged adults running our defense policy are governed by their unreasoning fears.

Washington can either give us ATACMS or allow us to use them against operational targets within the theater…or build our own drones that we can use however we please. You don’t have to be afraid that ATACMS will escalate, so I suggest you hold your beer.

We will see how Russia responds to the smack on its snout. Also, we’ll find out if the Russian high command is willing to put its strategic bomber fleet at risk to make them feel less powerless by waging an illegal war against the Ukrainian civilian population.

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