Murmansk Governor Marina Kovtun welcomes a pilot home to the air base in Vysokiy on on the Kola Peninsula. Photo: Mil.ru

Murmansk governor welcomes home Syria bombers

A pair of Tu-22M3 long-range bombers is back at the air base in Olenegorsk after dozens of combat missions in Syria.
December 13, 2017

«We are proud of you and always want the number of take-offs to the equal with the number of successful landings,» Murmansk governor Marina Kovtun said while thanking the crews of the aircrafts just after landing, the regional authorities’ newspaper Murmanski Vestnik tells.

See video by the Denfense Ministry in the end of this article.

The bombers from Olenegorsk air base south of Murmansk have carried out sorties from an airfield in North Ossetia towards targets in Syria over the last months, Russia’s Defense Ministry reports. The defense ministry has published similar stories about returning aircrafts from combat missions in Syria to the airfields in Astrakhan, Irkutsk, Kaluga and Ivanov. All stories are posted on Tuesday and Wednesday on the ministry’s English pages after U.S. National Security officials told media that «the Russian declaration of IS’s defeat are premature.»

On Monday, President Vladimir Putin announced the withdrawal of troops from Syria when he made a surprise visit to Russia’s air base Hmeimim in Syria.

The Tu-22M3 long-range bombers, of which at least two came from the Kola Peninsula, have participated in 84 sorties over the last month.

Russian military’s fightings in Russia began in 2015 after President Bashar al-Assad asked Putin for help. In total, Russian air force has made 6,956 sorties and over 7,000 helicopter flights over Syria.

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32,000 militants are killed in Syria over the past seven months, according to Colonel-General Sergey Surovikin, news agency TASS reported earlier this week.

The air base in Olenegorsk is located with the military town Vysokiy east of Lake Permusozero, some few kilometers from the civilian mining town of Olenegorsk, an hour drive south of Murmansk. It host two regiments operating Tu-22 aircrafts and also serves as a standby base for long-range Tu-95 strategic bombers.

In late November last year, two supersonic strategic bombers used Olenegorsk as a forward air base before taking off for the longest active warfare sortie in the post-Soviet times. The aircrafts were flying from the Kola Peninsula, along the coast of Norway and west of mainland Europe before turning east into the Mediterranean at Gibraltar and launched their loads of cruise missiles towards targets in Syria in the eastern Mediterranean.

 

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