The aftermath of the latest huge bombardment from Ukraine on one of Russia’s key airfield bases has been revealed in startling satellite imagery.
Ukrainian forces launched a huge strike using destructive long-range ATACMS ballistic missiles from the US on Berdiansk airfield in south-eastern Ukraine in what is another huge blow to Vladimir Putin and depleting Russian equipment.
Satellite images from Planet Lab show the remains of destroyed Russian helicopters and equipment as well as significant damage to the takeoff strip at the airfield.
Russia has occupied the airfield since the start of the Ukraine war in February 2022 and has become a key base for its Armed Forces since the start of this year.
Other satellite imagery has previously shown the airfield is home to dozens of Russian attack helicopters, which have been used to target Ukrainian ground forces fighting in the country’s counteroffensive along the southern front line.
Ukraine confirmed also launched an overnight trike using ATACMS ballistic missiles against an airfield in the temporarily occupied Luhansk.
The Ukrainian Special Operations Forces said the strikes on the key Russian aircraft bases resulted in “significant losses” for the opposition.
The Ukrainian army’s general staff said at least four missile strikes successfully targeted Russian military personnel, weapons, and equipment, destroying nine helicopters, an air defence missile system, military vehicles, ammunition depots, and airstrips.
A US official close to the situation confirmed Ukraine’s use of the ATACMS, according to a report by the Financial Times.
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The missiles, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, had “made well-aimed strikes on enemy airfields and helicopters near the temporarily occupied [cities of] Luhansk and Berdyansk”, according to Ukraine’s strategic communications centre.
The supply of ATACMS to Ukraine from the US is seen as a pivotal point in the war as they have a range of up to 190 miles and provide Kyiv with the ability to strike Russian forces far beyond the front line
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address on Tuesday: “Our agreements with President Joe Biden are being implemented. And very accurately. ATACMS have proven themselves.”
One Russian military blogger called the latest attacks one of the most damaging hits on their forces since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.
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A Russian military blogger known as Fighter Bomber wrote: “One of the most serious blows, if not the most serious. There are losses in both people and technology.”
The US had long resisted calls from Ukraine for the ATACMS over fears supply of the long-range weapons could see Russia escalate its attacks in the war.
But Washington reportedly began sending a small number of ATACMS with cluster munitions to Ukraine.
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