By Your Name
In a recent development in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, reports have emerged of a Ukrainian drone strike that destroyed a flagship Russian long-range bomber. Images circulated on social media and verified by reliable sources depict a Tupolev Tu-22 engulfed in flames at Soltsy-2 airbase, located south of St. Petersburg.
Contrary to Moscow’s claims of the drone being hit by small-arms fire, it is clear that the aircraft sustained significant damage as a result of the strike. The Tupolev Tu-22, capable of reaching speeds twice the speed of sound, has been extensively used by Russia to carry out attacks on cities in Ukraine.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, the attack occurred at a military airfield in the Novgorod region, precisely at Soltsy-2. They identified the weapon used as a “copter-type UAV” and stated that it was detected and engaged by the airfield’s observation outpost. The ministry also disclosed that one aircraft was damaged, but fortunately, there were no casualties.
Notably, this incident underlines Ukraine’s growing capability to target significant assets deep within Russian territory. In recent months, Ukraine has employed numerous fixed-wing unmanned aircraft in their attacks on Moscow, covering a distance of several hundred miles. Soltsy-2, the site of the destroyed bomber, is located approximately 400 miles (650km) from the Ukrainian border.
Although the Russian MoD categorizes the drone as a “copter-type UAV,” implying a cheap and readily available device launched from close range, the consequences of the strike cannot be overlooked. While the loss of a single aircraft may not severely impact Russia’s existing fleet of 60, it does indicate Kiev’s increased ability to strike Russian targets effectively.
The Tu-22, commonly known as “Backfire” by NATO, is a supersonic swing-wing bomber originating from the Cold War era. It has been instrumental in launching attacks on Ukrainian cities, with modern variants like the Tu-22M3 reaching speeds of Mach 2 (2,300km/h or 1,430mp/h) and carrying up to 24,000kg of various weapons.
These bombers have participated in conflicts in Syria, Chechnya, Georgia, and most recently, Ukraine. In January, a missile launched by a Tu-22 resulted in the death of 30 individuals when it struck a residential building in Dnipro. Official investigations in Kiev attributed the attack to Russia’s 52nd Guards Bomber Aviation Regiment, stationed at Soltsy-2.
Through careful analysis of visual evidence and historical satellite imagery, BBC Verify has substantiated the location of the Ukrainian drone attack on Soltsy-2. The weather conditions depicted in the images align with actual weather reports, further supporting the authenticity of the incident.
While this drone strike alone may not drastically alter the balance of power in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, it symbolizes Ukraine’s determination to strike back at Russian forces. The incident calls for greater international attention and involvement to deescalate the escalating tensions between these neighboring nations.
1. What is a supersonic bomber?
A supersonic bomber is an aircraft specifically designed for high-speed flight, capable of exceeding the speed of sound.
2. What is a UAV?
UAV stands for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, commonly known as a drone. It is a remotely piloted or fully autonomous aircraft capable of carrying out various tasks without a human pilot on board.
– [BBC News](https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/)