Saboteurs have blown up two aeroplanes inside a highly protected Moscow airfield where Vladimir Putin keeps his “doomsday” aircraft, Ukrainian intelligence says.
The daring militants, who remain unidentified, detonated explosives on the airfield at the Chkalovsky Air Base, taking out tan An-148 and Il-20 aircraft, as well as a Mi-28N helicopter – previously used to bring down Ukrainian drones.
The air base is a known storage site for Putin’s Il-80 Maxdome ‘Doomsday aircraft’ – a plane that would be deployed in the dire event of nuclear war.
It is just 20 miles northwest of the Russian capital and also keeps vital Russian reconnaissance planes.
Ukraine says the extent of the damage to the aircraft and helicopter makes it impossible for them to be repaired quickly.
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The Ukrainian Main Directorate of Intelligence today claimed the attack, which reportedly took place on Monday, “caused quite a bit of hysteria” within Russia’s military elite.
It said in a post: “Unknown persons planted explosives and detonated an An-148 and Il-20 aircraft – both belong to the 354th special purpose aviation regiment at the airfield.”
Anton Gerashchenko, Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, wrote: The sabotage reportedly took place at the Chkalovsky Air Base, where government planes, ‘doomsday’ planes and reconnaissance aircraft are based.
“Due to the damage, quick repair is impossible. The helicopter’s tail section was damaged. Another AN-148, which was parked next to the others, sustained minor damage.”
The attack comes as Ukraine celebrates a flurry of major victories in its counteroffensive operations, including the liberation of two villages southwest of Bakhmut.
Ukraine has taken back more than half of previously Russian-occupied territory in the country, US General Mark Millet said.
He told the 54-country Ukraine Defence Contact Group that Ukraine has so far freed more than 54 per cent of Russian-held territory as of Tuesday.
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