NewsUkrainian intelligence strikes Russian strategic bombers: Daring 372-mile stealth mission ends in tragedy

Ukrainian intelligence strikes Russian strategic bombers: Daring 372‑mile stealth mission ends in tragedy

Ukrainian saboteurs struck the airport in Russia in August 2023.
Ukrainian saboteurs struck the airport in Russia in August 2023.
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12:49 PM EST, January 24, 2024

The stealth operation took place at the Soltsy-2 military airport in the Novgorodian region, nestled between Novgorod the Great and Pskov, and around 142 miles south of St. Petersburg. This marked the first confirmed destruction of a Russian strategic bomber by Ukrainian troops, as a Tu-22M3 plane was completely incinerated and two others were damaged.

According to a statement on the HUR website, "the aim of the August mission, led by Colonel Oleg Babi, was to halt Russian air raids on civilian targets in Ukraine. The operation was successful in throwing a wrench into the enemy's planned further air attacks, and significantly disrupting the operations of their military airports and long-range aviation bases."

The Ukrainian intelligence added that the mission induced panic within the enemy army and Russian society. It demonstrated that effective attacks on key military targets are possible deep within the perceived safety of the aggressor nation's borders.

Ambush ensnares the saboteurs

Regrettably, this operation marked the final combat mission of Colonel Babi and his unit. On their retreat to Ukraine, the saboteurs were ensnared in a Russian ambush. In an attempt to safeguard his comrades' retreat, Babi was killed in action on August 30, as revealed by military intelligence.

Following the loss, HUR posthumously awarded Babi the title of Hero of Ukraine. He is survived by two young children.

Statement from Budanov

"We acknowledge those who on August 19 and 21 destroyed two enemy strategic bombers and damaged two additional ones at the Soltsy-2 airport and in Shaykovka in the Kaluga region. Carrying out these tasks on Russian territory, they managed to shrink the Russians' total number of Tu-22s from 31 to 27," was the statement from the head of HUR, General Kyrylo Budanov, after the operation.

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