TechRussia resumes large-scale air strikes on Ukraine, hitting key cities

Russia resumes large-scale air strikes on Ukraine, hitting key cities

Tu-95 MS bombers, illustrative photo
Tu-95 MS bombers, illustrative photo
Images source: © GNU Free Documentation License, Versión 1.2 solamente, Wikimedia Commons | Dmitriy Pichugin - Russian AviaPhoto Team

12:32 PM EDT, March 22, 2024

On March 22, Russia launched its first large-scale air attack in over a month, deploying aircraft and long-range missiles. The British Ministry of Defence has reported on the weapons used in the attack against Ukrainian positions.

According to the daily intelligence update, the hiatus in this type of airstrikes was likely due to issues related to fleet management and planning. In this operation, Russia deployed at least 10 Tu-95 bombers from airbases in Olenegorsk and Engels, supplemented by MiG-31 interceptor fighters.

The Russians scrambled Tu-95 bombers

The Tu-95 (Bear-H in NATO code) is a long-range strategic bomber. Russia began introducing these bombers in the 1960s, and today, they also operate the modernized Tu-95MS variants.

These bombers range approximately 6,525 miles, which can be extended to 8,761 miles with air-to-air refueling. The nearly 164-foot-long aircraft can carry up to 22 tons of weaponry.

The British Ministry of Defence notes that Russia launched dozens of missiles of various types during the attack. These included AS-24 ballistic missiles and AS-23a maneuvering missiles, which are particularly dangerous due to their capability to carry 1,058-pound warheads and hit targets up to 2.8 miles away.

Kyiv and Kharkiv Under Attack

The largest Ukrainian cities were targeted in the strikes. Missiles hit Kyiv (which had not experienced an attack for 44 days) and Kharkiv, damaging energy facilities. Consequently, many residents are now facing shortages of water and heating.

The British analysts suggest that Russia might encounter difficulties due to sanctions, which have restricted access to crucial components for aircraft and missiles. Despite these challenges, Russia is actively seeking ways to circumvent these limitations. If successful, they could carry out similar large-scale attacks in the future.

The British Ministry of Defence stated, "Russia will likely continue to target key sites as soon as they can mobilize the necessary aircraft, crews, and weapons, aiming to maintain pressure on the Ukrainian government and population by showcasing their readiness to launch strikes. This approach is indicative of a prolonged campaign where the tactical air forces, including fighters and helicopters, still play a limited role in affecting the overall course of the conflict."

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