According to the report of OSINT (Open-source Intelligence) researcher RedIntelPanda on the social network X, Russia has initiated the construction of a new airfield near the village of Alexeyevka in the Belgorod region.

The OSINT researcher noted that the road to the site of the future airfield construction was paved as early as July 2023. Over the subsequent months, before the onset of winter, the grading of the future runway appeared mostly complete.

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The construction site is pinpointed at coordinates N50° 39.672' and E38° 34.164'. Following the winter thaw, Russian activity with the construction resumed.

“On 27 April 2024, a base layer or paving itself is ongoing on the runway. The animated image shows this work starting around the beginning of April,” the message stated.

Sentinel Hub measurements indicated the runway length is approximately 1800 meters (6,000 feet). While not expansive, it can support various aircraft types, the OSINT researcher said.

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A new military airfield may signal Russia’s focus on helicopter operations

The OSINT researcher pointed out that Alexeyevka falls within the no-fly zone for civilian aircraft, established due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Since Alexeyevka is within this danger zone—essentially a no-fly zone for civilian aircraft, we can assume its use upon completion [would] be military. I cannot find in Russian news where a civilian airport is being built here, but it’s possible I missed it,” he reported.

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The researcher speculated that, given the military nature of this airfield, it may serve as a fallback location for Russian helicopters to operate from, especially considering the reduced number of helicopters observed at the forward base in Rovenki, Belgorod region in late 2023.

If the helicopters stationed at the Rovenki forward base were relocated to the Buturlinovka air base in the Voronezh region, it would extend the distance of any mission towards the Kupyansk sector (the Kharkiv region) of the front by 150 kilometers.

Although Alexeyevka is further within Russian territory, missions launched from there would only face an additional distance of approximately 25 kilometers to the front compared to those from Rovenki, the OSINT researcher said.

However, he said that the airfield’s utility may extend beyond helicopters, stating: “This runway could support fixed-wing aircraft such as light transports and VIP (An-26, An-72) and even Su-25 [NATO: Frogfoot] [ground] attack jets.”

As noted, Alexeyevka has emerged as a crucial logistics hub for Russia’s military activities in Ukraine. One significant aspect of its function is the transportation and storage of fuel.

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In 2023, the OSINT researcher reported on a fuel operation conducted in this area, and the existing rail infrastructure is already in place to facilitate support for the new airfield. Additionally, Alexeyevka hosts a facility for the modification and up-armoring of Russian tactical vehicles.

Furthermore, the presence of a Russian military vehicle repair site in Alexeyevka underscores its role in servicing and repairing damaged tactical vehicles, ensuring their return to the front lines.

“Evidently, Alexeyevka is a hive of activity. It serves as a bustling center for the Russian Army's ‘Zapad Group’ [Western Group]. With the airfield’s completion, its activity is expected to escalate,” the OSINT researcher reported.

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