Shock For Russia! Ukraine Claims Destroying Stealth Su-57, Mozdok Airbase Housing Tu-22M3 Bombers

Ukraine claims to have struck Russia’s 5th-generation Su-57 fighter jet parked at an airfield in southern Russia, its first-ever attack on cutting-edge stealth aircraft.

“On 8 June 2024, a Su-57 multi-purpose fighter jet of the aggressor state was struck at the Akhtubinsk airfield in Russia’s Astrakhan region, 589 kilometers from the line of contact,” Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence said. “The defeat of the Su-57 is the first such case in history,” the GUR added.

It also published before-and-after satellite imagery of what it said revealed fire damage and debris around a Su-57 jet parked on an airfield. A Ukrainian intelligence source told AFP that the GUR was responsible and that it had used Ukrainian-made combat UAV in the attack.

If confirmed, this would come as a massive blow to Russian Aerospace Forces, who have been reluctantly using the stealth fighter in the Ukraine war, fearing loss of sensitive technology and loss of reputation.

File Image: Su-57. Via Wikipedia

In an earlier intelligence briefing, the UK Ministry of Defence said, “Russia is highly likely prioritizing avoiding the reputational damage, reduced export prospects, and the compromise of sensitive technology which would come from any loss of FELON over Ukraine. This is symptomatic of Russia’s continued risk-averse approach to employing its air force in the war.”

Military experts have noted that the Su-57, with its stealth capabilities designed to evade radar detection, could potentially tilt the balance in Russia’s favor. Yet, the reluctance to deploy it suggests a lack of confidence in its performance or a calculated assessment of the risks involved.

Tu-22M3 Bombers Attacked

Ukrainian Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) attacked Mosdok Air Base, which is home to Tu-22M3 bombers and the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) ‘s MiG-31 fighters.

Ukrainian drones attacked Mozdok Airbase in the early hours of June 8. The airbase is reportedly home to a number of Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bombers. A video has since surfaced on social media which shows a drone flying over Northern Ossetia, likely on its mission to attack the airbase.

The attack was a special operation undertaken by the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU), who told local Ukrainian media ‘Ukrainska Pravda’: “This has been the work of DIU and the successful use of improved domestic assets.”

The successful attack was reported following the head of North Ossetia acknowledging the attack and claiming that three UAVs approaching the airfield were shot down. “The attack was stopped by the air defense forces of the Russian Ministry of Defense. Minor destruction and ignition were recorded. No one was injured. An operational headquarters was created,” said the head of North Ossetia.

According to reports in the local Ukrainian media, the distance between the Ukrainian frontline and the Mozdok air base is about 1,000 kilometers, making it a very long-range attack. Some military observers and open-source intelligence analysts on social media said that the drone employed by Ukrainian forces to conduct the strike was a ‘Lyutyy’ or ‘ Liutyi’ UAV.

While the initial reports about the attacks were flagged as rumors, some analysts were able to geolocate the video and confirmed that an attack indeed struck the Mozdok air base at the time this report was written.

The DIU source, which spoke to Ukrainian media, stated that this is the first strike on the Mozdok airfield while emphasizing that the zone of their attacks has been expanding. “Enemy military facilities that are involved in Russia’s genocidal war against Ukrainians should not be safe.”

The above statement is a reference to the Tu-22M3 bombers and MiG-31K combat aircraft armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles that have been taking off from Mosdok to conduct strikes on Ukrainian cities.

Mozdok is an airbase of the Russian Air Force located near Mozdok, North Ossetia–Alania, Russia, in the Russian North Caucasus. This is the first attack of its kind to strike the region.

File Image: Tu-223M

The attack comes when the Russians are still reeling from the attack carried out on the Belbek airfield in Crimea. Last month, three Russian jets and a fuel station close to the main runway of the Belbek airport, which is under Moscow’s control in occupied Crimea, were destroyed by a long-range Ukrainian strike allegedly using the US-supplied ATACMS.

In the aftermath of the incident, US commercial satellite company Maxar revealed that two MiG-31 fighter jets and one Su-27 fighter jet had been destroyed. Additionally, one MiG-29 fighter aircraft apparently suffered damage.

That said, the 1000+ kilometers attack is significant as it comes at a time when Russia has lambasted the West for giving approval to Ukraine to use its weaponry to strike Russian territory. The attack carried out using a drone establishes that the Ukrainian forces already have the capability to attack Russian territory by modifying their drones, which will only be further enhanced with the use of Western weapons.

In fact, President Joe Biden expressed regret to Ukraine on June 7 for the months-long legislative standoff over US military aid, which allowed Russia to gain strategic advantage. The US, along with some other NATO allies, said last week they would allow Ukraine to use weapons they deliver to Kyiv to carry out limited attacks inside Russia.

Further, amid rising tensions with Russia, US President Joe Biden said that Russia was not going to stop at Ukraine, implying a wider conflict.

As he issued a warning that Vladimir Putin would “not stop” at Ukraine, US President Joe Biden promised that Washington would help Kyiv in its fight against the Russian invasion.

In addition to that, following discussions in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron, Biden declared, “Putin is not going to stop at Ukraine.” “All of Europe will be threatened, we are not going to let that happen,” Biden told journalists during his state visit to France.

”The United States is standing strong with Ukraine. We will not, I say it again, walk away,” he added.