Attack on Kyiv children’s hospital likely carried out by Tu-95MS from Olenya airfield

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Russia’s Kh-101 cruise missiles are carried by the Tu-95MS long-range aviation. 

Last night, those planes flew into launch positions over Kursk region from Olenya airfield on the Kola Peninsula, a short 150 and 200 kilometers from Russia’s northern border with Finland and Norway.

Ukrainian Air Force reported on Telegram at 06:19 am the take-off of five Tu-95MS from the Olenya airfield in Murmansk region.  

In broad daylight a few hours later, the Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital in the western part of the Ukrainian capital was in ruins. 

There were no other strategic bombers from other airfields in position at the time. 

“I don’t understand how people can be such animals. Even animals don’t do such things. They are not even animals,” Alla Nesolionova, a doctor at the cardiology center at the Okhmatdyt hospital, told the Kyiv Independent

“I don’t know how these pilots can launch missiles. They know the targets. They know the coordinates.”

Day of Family, Love and Fidelity

Meanwhile, when the pilots were in the air, people home in the northern Russian town of Vysoky (also known under the military code-name Olenegorsk-8) celebrated the All-Russian Holiday, the Day of Family, Love and Fidelity.

A post on Vkontakte by the local library tells about how the children “celebrated a wonderful holiday.”

“We wish all families happiness, kindness, love, peace and prosperity!” the post said.

Vysoky has about 8,000 inhabitants; pilots and crew, ground personnel, weapons’ services and their families. All attached to the Olenya airfield, from where the Russian strategic aviation forces operate a fleet of Tu-22M3, Tu-95MS and Tu-160.

As the Tu-95MS and Tu-160 strategic bombers are temporarily deployed to Olenya, the crew do not live up north with their families. A majority are believed to come from the 22nd Heavy Bomber Aviation Division based in Engels airfield, Saratov region.

The Barents Observer has previously, based on satellite images, pointed out the storage and reloading terminal for weapons arriving up north via the railway. 

Two waves with bombers  

The first group of four Tu-95 from Olenya airfield took off in the evening on Sunday, reported by the Ukrainian Air Force on Telegram at 21.50.

At 00.37 the first cruise missiles were presumably launched, and at 00.41 the Air Force urged people in eastern Ukraine to take shelter when air alarms were triggered. The Russian planes were then in launch positions over Saratov region. 

Three out of four Kh-101 missiles from the first wave of Tu-95MS bombers were shot down by the Ukrainians in the Zhytomyr and Cherkasy regions, the Air Force reported in the early morning. 

By then, the second wave of aircraft from the Russian north was already in the skies heading south.  

 

From the cockpit of the Tu-95MS on a previous flight from Olenya airfield. Screenshot from Defense Ministry video 

 

Threat to the Kyiv region was announced at 09.20 and one minute later, air alarm was triggered and people asked to take shelter. Russia’s second massive cruise missile attack of the day had started. 

A total of 38 air, sea and ground-based missiles were launched around 10.00, including Kinzhal, Iskand-M, Tsirkon, Kalibr. And the Kh-101 carried by Tu-95MS bombers from Olenya airfield. 

30 of the missiles were shot down, including 11 of 13 Kh-101.

One of the cruise missiles that were not neutralized by the Ukrainian air defence systems hit the Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv.

It still unclear how many were wounded in the ruined building where bloody children, patrons, doctors and other medical employees were doing their best to evacuate the hospital.

The Ukrainian Security Service identified the missile that hit the children’s hospital as an Kh-101, Reuters reported. Numerous photos and video analysis are posted on the net, as the missile was captured from different mobile cameras and CCTVs near the area of impact.

Studies of debris at the blast site also indicated that the missile was a Kh-101. 

 

A Tu-95MS bomber landing at Olenya airfield about an hour drive south of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula. Screenshot from video by Russia’s Ministry of Defense

 

It was last spring the strategic air forces relocated more than 10 Tu-95MS and Tu-160 long-range bombers to Olenya. The move came after Engels Air Base in Saratov region was hit by Ukrainian drones.

The air base just south of Murmansk has since become central for Russia’s terror bombing in Ukraine. 

Olenya is 1,800 km north of Russia’s border with Ukraine.

NATO Summit 

Russia’s massive missile attack across Ukraine came one day before NATO leaders are due to start a 3-day summit in Washington D.C. 

Russia must be held fully accountable for all its crimes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on X after the first terrifying reports from the bombed children’s hospital came.

“It is very important that the world does not remain silent about this now, and that everyone sees what Russia is and what it is doing,” Zelenskyy said

Western leaders are all condemning Russia.

There are no limits to the atrocities of the Russian Federation.

Today massive missile attacks on multiple cities, including Kyiv. Dozens killed and wounded. A children’s hospital destroyed.

Finland strongly condemns these deliberate attacks on civilian targets. Russia will…

— Alexander Stubb (@alexstubb) July 8, 2024

Distance from Finland’s eastern border in the north to the Olenya airfield is some 150 km.

Norway, sharing a border with Russia some 200 km from Olenya airfield, says it is “extremely serious” that the attacks hit civilians and civilian infrastructure. 

“It is particularly disturbing that the National Children’s Hospital Ohmatdyt has been hit,” Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide says. 

He calls on Moscow to end its illegal war and immediately withdraw all its forces from Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.