A Tu-160 supersonic bomber making ready for take-off. Photo: Russian Defense Ministry

Bombers from Murmansk region led new wave of missile attacks on Kyiv

Eight of the ten strategic bombers launching cruise missiles on Ukraine overnight took off from the Olenya Air Base on the Kola Peninsula.
May 18, 2023


The Russian North is playing an increasingly important role in Russia’s all-out war on Ukraine.

As new reports are coming in about cannon fodder soldiers from the 200th Motorized Rifle Brigade from Pechenga losing positions north of Bakhmut, strategic bomber planes from Olenya Air Base south of Murmansk take a led role in the waves of missile attacks on Kyiv from the air.

With today’s sorties, the Ukrainian capital has been attacked from the air nine times so far in May. 

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense reports on Facebook that missiles were launched from different directions, including sea-, air-, and land-based cruise missiles. The attack started at 9 pm on May 17 and continued until 5.30 am Thursday morning.

29 of 30 missiles were destroyed by anti-missile defense systems, according to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

The Ministry says 22 of the incoming missiles were launched from strategic bombers; two Tu-160 and eight Tu-95. The missiles were Kh-101 and Kh-555 with a 400 kg conventional warhead.

The Kh-555 missile has a range of 3,500 km, allowing for launch from positions far away from the Ukrainian border.


Russia’s Defense Ministry on Thursday confirmed the attacks, stating the missiles were targeting “warehouses of foreign-made weapons and equipment.” In strict contradiction to the Ukrainian reports, the ministry claims “all assigned objects are hit.”

An HF radio observer, tracking the activities of Russia’s strategic aviation forces, last night reported via Twitter that seven Tu-95 and one Tu-160 took off from Olenya Air Base on the Kola Peninsula, while two Tu-95 took off from Engels Air Base ahead of the cruise missiles attack.

According to the Ukraine-based new-site Fakty [Facts], each Tu-95 aircraft can carry six cruise missiles.

A source in the Kyiv military administration said that some of the planes were over the Caspian Sea area when missiles were launched toward the city.

Murmansk region’s role 

The Kola Peninsula plays a vital role in Russia’s unprovoked bloody war on its neighboring country.

Last week, the Barents Observer could tell that Olenya Air Base now is filled to capacity with strategic bombers, planes that previously were based at Engels, but have been moved north at a safe distance from Ukrainian drones.

Also, thousands of soldiers from the border regions to Norway and Finland are killed and wounded. Warships from Severomorsk with the Northern Fleet are actively involved since the start of the war 15 months ago. 

The Insitute for the Study of War this week claimed that elements of the 200th Motorized Rifle Brigade have lost their positions in the area about six kilometers northwest of Bakhmut.

The 200th brigade has Pechenga near Russia’s border with Norway in the north as home.



The Barents Observer Newsletter

After confirming you're a real person, you can write your email below and we include you to the subscription list.

Privacy policy