A suspected Ukrainian drone strike deep in Russian territory destroyed one of Putin’s prized Tu-22 nuclear bombers.
New footage of the aftermath of the daring attack on Soltsy airbase in the Novgorod region appears to show the long-range supersonic missile carrier exploding into a fireball.
Russian sources admitted yesterday that the drone strike “damaged” the strategic plane, but new footage shows the fighter jet was engulfed in a devastating inferno.
The attack on the military airport in Novgorod Oblast – more than 500 miles from Ukraine – was reportedly led by a “helicopter-style” kamikaze drone.
The Russian Defense Ministry stated: “The Kiev regime carried out a terrorist attack using a helicopter-type UAV at a military airfield in the Novgorod region.”
“As a result of the terrorist attack on the premises of the airfield, a fire broke out in the aircraft parking lot, which was immediately extinguished by the fire brigade.
“One plane was damaged but there were no casualties from the terrorist attack.”
A Ukrainian Telegram channel countered this claim, saying that two Tu-22M3 supersonic bombers were badly damaged in the attack.
The Institute for the Study of War cited a Russian inside source who also claimed the fire damaged at least two aircraft.
According to Russian media, at least six Tu-22M3s were deployed to the distant Olenya airbase on the Kola Peninsula after the attack.
Soltsy airfield is known as a base for the Tu-22M3 bombers used for attacks on Ukraine.
The Tupolev Tu-22M3 was first used by Russia in the war in Ukraine during the “carpet bombing” of Mariupol.
They reportedly have 60 of the fearsome planes in operation.
The operational range is almost 7,000 km and covers all of Europe and the east coast of the United States.
These Soviet-designed, general-purpose high-explosive warhead aerial bombs are ancient but devastating because of their indiscriminate damage.
The Tu22M can also carry Kh-15 nuclear or anti-radar missiles, as well as Kh-22 long-range naval attack missiles.