Russia starts Friday with large-scale air attack on Ukraine, Tu-95 bombers from Murmansk active

By - March 29, 2024 The Independent Barents Observer
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At 02.52 am Friday the Air Force of Ukraine reported missile launches from Tu-95MS aircraft. The message followed a warning just before midnight that four of the bombers had taken off from Olenya airfield in the Murmansk region.

Other sources following Russia’s military aviation claim 7 such long-range Tu-95MS bombers from Olenya were in the air on the night of Friday.

The airbase is an hour’s drive south of Murmansk city, some 100 km from the border to Finland and about 150 km from Russia’s northern border with Norway. The two Nordic NATO members have radars up north detecting every take-off from Olenya.

People throughout Ukraine woke up to air raid sirens and had to run to bomb shelters where those were available.  

Kyiv Independent reports attacks targeting nearly every region of Ukraine, including the far-western Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk oblast.

Poland’s Military Headquarters says on Twitter (X) that it has scrambled fighter jets to ensure the safety of Polish airspace after Russia started to launch missiles. Last weekend, a Russian cruise missile violated Polish airspace near the border with Ukraine.

In addition to Tu-95MS bombers from the Olenya airfield on the Kola Peninsula, Russia is attacking Ukraine with a wave of drones, MiG-31K aircraft and Iskander ballistic missiles from annexed Crimea, Belgorod and Kursk regions, the Ukraine Air Force reports via updates on Telegram

The attack targeted facilities in the fuel and energy sector of Ukraine. In total, 99 means of air weapons were launched of which 84 were destroyed by Ukrainian air defense. 

It was in the spring of 2023 that Russia’s strategic air forces relocated more than 10 Tu-95M and Tu-160 long-range bombers to Olenya. The move came after Engels Air Base in Saratov region was hit by Ukrainian drones.

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

The Barents Observer reported about attacks led by planes from Olenya Air Base on May 18 and December 29 last year and on January 2, January 9, February 6, February 15 and March 24 this year.

 

The satellite photo shows the Olenya airbase earlier this week. 17 larger aircraft can be seen on the apron, likely Tu-95MS, tankers and surveillance planes. On the parking spots in the northern end of the runway are the fleet of Tu-22M3 visible. Image via Sentinel-2