Ukraine says it struck an air base used to launch Russia's much-feared glide bombs

Ukraine says it struck an air base used to launch Russia's much-feared glide bombs
  • Ukraine launched a drone strike on a key Russian air base on Saturday, sources say.

  • Ukraine says many of Russia's devastating glide bombs are launched from planes at Kushchyovskaya air base.

  • The bombs have become a central feature of Russian attacks, notably on Chasiv Yar and Avdiivka.

Ukraine says it launched strikes on a key air base with a view to thwarting Russia's devastating glide bombs, according to Sky News.

An unnamed military source told the outlet that the operation overnight on Saturday had "significantly reduced" Russia's ability to target the front line with the bombs.

The attack took place at the Kushchyovskaya air base in Krasnodar Krai, southwest Russia, the source claimed.

Other sources corroborated that there had been some kind of attack.

Russia's state-controlled news agency TASS acknowledged an air attack there, saying some drones were shot down.

The influential Russian Telegram channel ASTRA said that at least three drones had not been shot down there, citing its own unnamed sources. It said that a Su-27 aircraft at the base was damaged, as well as infrastructure there.

Russia keeps Su-27s, Su-34s, and Su-35s at Kushchyovskaya, all of which are used daily to launch the glide bombs and other attacks, Sky's source said.

Business Insider was unable to independently verify the claims.

Ukrainian law enforcement officers with knowledge of the situation told Ukrinform that the attack was a joint operation between the security service and Ukraine's specialist drone unit.

Ukraine also says it targeted the base at the end of April, The Kyiv Independent reported. Soon after that attack, the UK Ministry of Defence assessed that Russia began to pull some aircraft out of there and relocate them further from the front line.

Glide bomb launches have become a core tactic for Russia in recent months.

The cheap, Soviet-era air-launched munitions are adapted with wings and a rudimentary guidance system that allows aircraft to drop them from well beyond the reach of Ukraine's air defenses.

Once launched, the bombs are difficult to intercept, and can have a devastating impact.

"These glide bombs were vital in the seizure of Avdiivka and are currently being used heavily in Chasiv Yar," the source told Sky News.

"They allow the Russian aircraft to release their bombs further away from the target so they are at less risk from Ukrainian air defense," they said.

Chasiv Yar, in Ukraine's eastern Donestk region, is a hotspot of the front line, where Ukrainian forces have dug in for several weeks.

Sited just west of the now-ruined city of Bakhmut, the hilltop town is a gateway to several key cities and supply routes.

Russian attacks there had intensified in recent days, according to the Institute for the Study of War.

The Ukrainian outlook on holding the city has been bleak for a while — in early May, deputy intel chief Major-General Vadym Skibitsky said it was only a matter of time before Russia took it.

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