Kyiv said it had carried out a drone strike on the Shaykovka Russian military air facility some 200 kilometers (130 miles) northeast of the Ukrainian border on Monday. Over the weekend, Russia’s defense ministry said another Ukrainian drone hit the Soltsy military airfield in the Novgorod region, also hundreds of kilometers north of Ukraine.
Moscow’s dominance in the skies has been a major obstacle for Ukraine’s counteroffensive. Ukrainian forces have been working their way through dense minefields and multiple layers of defenses along the frontlines in recent weeks, while regularly coming under attack from above.
That’s why Kyiv has made it a priority to get F-16 fighter jets from its allies. But while the Netherlands and Denmark both agreed this week to provide the aircraft, it will take many months before Ukrainian pilots are trained up to use them. In the meantime, Ukraine seems to be trying to make a dent in Russia’s air power by targeting its air bases.
The Shaykovka military air base operates Tupolev Tu-22M3 supersonic long-range bombers that have been used by Russia to strike targets in Ukraine since the start of its full-scale invasion last year. Just last week, the Ukrainian air force reported that aircraft flying from Shaykovka had launched four Kh-22 cruise missiles towards Ukraine.
Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence, said that a drone attack on the Shaykovka base in Russia’s Kaluga region on Monday left “at least one aircraft damaged.”