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Ukraine’s Strike On Airbase In Crimea Has Destroyed Three Russian Warplanes, Says US Satellite Firm

A satellite image shows what appears to be a damaged MiG29 fighter following an attack at Belbek Airbase, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Crimea May 16, 2024. Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

US satellite company Maxar said a Ukrainian strike on Belbek airbase in Crimea has destroyed three Russian warplanes. This also includes a fuel facility near its main runway this week.

The company shared satellite images. These showed two MiG-31 fighter jets and a Su-27 fighter jet were destroyed. It said one MiG-29 fighter aircraft was damaged.

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for striking the airbase.

The Russian defence ministry said on Thursday that Ukraine had staged an overnight attack on Crimea. Its air defence forces had intercepted five long-range missiles known as ATACMS.

The defence ministry said on Wednesday that it had intercepted 10 long-range ATACMS also launched at Crimea. It did not report any damage to military facilities in either attack.

Ukraine has increasingly resorted to using long-range drones and missiles to strike strategic targets far behind the front line. This includes Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, which Russian troops seized and annexed in 2014.

Ukraine has recently been suffering losses on the battlefield. Russian troops have taken advantage of Kyiv’s shortage of manpower and artillery shells.

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Russia holds an advantage in manpower and weapons.

The US is seeking to boost Ukraine’s defences.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday.

This was the first visit by a senior US official since the passing of the $61 billion aid package for Ukraine by Congress.

A US official said Blinken wanted to send a “strong signal of reassurance to the Ukrainians.”