The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has said it successfully carried out an attack against Russia’s Saki military airfield in occupied Crimea overnight, damaging several aircraft and vital equipment and killing at least 30 of Moscow’s troops.
An SBU source told Kyiv Post that Ukrainian drones had been used to overwhelm Russian air defenses leaving gaps which Neptune missiles were then able to exploit.
The source said there were at least 12 Su-24 and Su-30 combat aircraft positioned in the airfield at the time of the attack, as well as Pantsir anti-aircraft missile and gun systems and a training base for operators of the Iranian Mohajer-6 UAV.
The source did not provide further details of the damage caused by the strike, but said: “Russian telegram channels confirm serious destruction and losses - they write about at least 30 dead soldiers.”
The security service source, referring to the the Mojaher-6 UAV, said: "It is these drones that the Russians use to coordinate their own air attacks, as well as a combat strike drone.”
The attack was further commented on by Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, who confirmed some of the details provided by the SBU.
The Security Service of Ukraine and Ukrainian Naval Forces aunched a large-scale strike on Saki military airfield in occupied Crimea last night - Suspilne, citing sources in SSU.— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) September 21, 2023
At least 12 combat aircraft (Su-24 and Su-30) were at the airfield, as well as a Pantsir missile… pic.twitter.com/hLsbMYoLN6
On Thursday morning, SBU sources also claimed that a Ukrainian missile attack in occupied Crimea on Wednesday had successfully struck a command post of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, in which several Russian commanders were located.
“The strike was carried out after the SBU verified the data that the commanders of the enemy fleet were indeed [present] in the military unit,” they told Kyiv Post.
Andrii Yusov, a representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine (HUR), confirmed separately that Ukrainian missiles had also on Wednesday struck a target near the Belbek airfield, which is close to Sevastopol.
Elsewhere this week, on Wednesday Kyiv also announced two Russian planes and a helicopter had been “significantly damaged” in an attack carried out by “unknown saboteurs” on one of the Kremlin’s main military airfields, 30 km northeast of Moscow.
In a post on Telegram, the Directorate of Military Intelligence of Ukraine (HUR) said the operation was carried out on Monday at the Chkalovsky Air Base and “caused quite a bit of hysteria in the higher military corridors.”
The HUR added: “Unknown saboteurs… planted explosives and detonated AN-148 and IL-20 aircraft (both belong to the 354th special purpose aviation regiment) at the airfield, which is carefully guarded, as well as the MI-28N [Havoc] helicopter, which was actively involved in shooting down attack drones over Moscow region.”
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