Russian Il-76 military transport planes at the Pskov airbase were attacked by drones launched from the territory of Russia, said Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Main Intelligence Agency of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, in an exclusive interview with The War Zone.
“We are working from the territory of Russia,” Budanov told us, though he would not specify whether the attack was carried out by GUR personnel or Russian partisans.
He also declined to say what kind of drones were used or how many.
In his battle damage assessment of the aircraft, Budanov told us that “two were destroyed and two were seriously damaged.”
In addition, The War Zone project managed to get a picture from a source in intelligence, where the direct result of one of the strikes is visible. According to the ezine, the fuel on board may have been the reason that the other two completely burned down.
The War Zone believes that the images indicate that most likely the bombs were dropped from a drone or drones under local control, which corresponds to Budanov’s comments that it was a strike carried out inside Russia, probably very close to the base, and not using autonomous long-range drones.
“This successful attack raises additional questions about Russian force protection defenses and its ability to counter drone operations over its domestic airbase facilities,” the War Zone says.
After an attack last month on the Stoltsy-2 Air Base inside Russia, GUR spokesman Andriy Yusov told us it was carried out on the GUR’s behest by people inside Russia. Later, Russian officials ordered increased patrols around that base, searching for collaborators and any equipment that they could use.
IL-76s are the basis of Russian military aviation. Budanov noted that the GUR specifically targeted these aircraft, since they are in working condition and are used for “transporting military cargo and paratroopers from the Airborne Forces.”