Satellite images published on X / Twitter by OSINT analyst MT Anderson has revealed that 12 Tu-95MS and 13 Tu-22M3 strategic bombers, along with one Tu-160, and two An-12 military transport aircraft were located at the Olenya airfield on May 15.

The Olenya air base, which is located in the Murmansk region more than 2,000 kilometers from Kyiv, has been one of the main bases for Russian aerospace forces during Moscow’s massive missile strikes on Ukraine.

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The Defense Express media outlet cites estimates from the British Ministry of Defense and Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate (HUR) that approximately 40 Tu-95MS and 40 Tu-22M3 bombers currently remain in service with Russia’s strategic aviation.

“And from this, it follows that, at the moment, the Russians have collected a third of the total number of combat-capable bombers of this type at the Olenya airfield,” the report said.

At the end of April, there were only six Tu-22M3s at the Mozdok airfield, which is much closer to Ukraine and suitable for the deployment of strategic bombers. Satellite images revealed that the Russians silhouettes of Tu-22M3 and Su-24M/MR aircraft had been painted on the ground at the airbase, most likely in an attempt to foil attacks by Ukrainian kamikaze drones.

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“This highlights how important Olenya is now as a long-range aviation base of the Russian aerospace forces,” the report said.

According to the report, the fact that a third of the combat-ready Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 fleet is stationed at such a remote airfield may indicate that Russian forces are preparing for new strikes against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.

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The media outlet also suggested that the Russians might want to withdraw their most valuable aircraft from the potential impact of long-range kamikaze drones currently held by Ukraine’s defense forces.

It also suggested that the presence of An-12 military transport aircraft could have been used to deliver missiles to the airfield.

HUR confirmed on April 2 that Ukraine had targeted a drone assembly facility in Yelabuga and an oil refinery in Nizhnekamsk, both in Tatarstan, more than 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) from Ukraine.

A source “familiar with the situation” told Bild that the recent drone strikes by Ukraine’s Armed Forces (AFU) on Tatarstan, were just the beginning.

According to its source, the AFU will take delivery of drones from 10 separate manufacturers with ranges of greater than 2,000 kilometers. The source said that the Luch Design Bureau has developed the Sokol-3000 UAV, which can fly over 3,000 kilometers.

Such a weapon would bring targets in the Murmansk region where there are more than 80 military bases, including the Olenya airfield, within range for attacks from Ukraine.

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