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Tu-95 bomber, same age as Putin, used in today's attack on Ukraine

Tu-95 bomber, same age as Putin, used in today's attack on Ukraine Tu-95 (Getty Images)

Ukraine today experienced another missile attack, with Kyiv being the target of the enemy. After a break of over a month, the occupiers launched missiles across Ukraine from strategic bombers Tu-95MS.

Find more details about these aircraft in the report below.

Sources: Ukrainian Air Force, data from Wikipedia, Defense Express, and the website of the Tupolev company.

After midnight, the Ukrainian Air Force reported the takeoff of a Tu-95 aircraft from the Olenya airfield in the Murmansk region of Russia. It was later revealed that 11 Tu-95MS bombers fired 29 cruise missiles of the Kh-101/Kh-555 type at Ukraine. The launch areas were Volgodonsk and Engels.

The air defense forces shot down all enemy missiles (except for the 29 cruise missiles but ballistic missiles Iskander-M and Kinzhal were also destroyed). However, debris fell in Kyiv, causing documented damage.

About Tu-95MS aircraft

The Tu-95 aircraft is a Soviet and Russian strategic bomber. The first version of the Tu-95 was developed during the time of Joseph Stalin in the 1950s. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin was born in 1952. Thus, the Tu-95 is essentially the same age as Putin.

The Tu-95 was developed to counter the American Convair B-36 Peacemaker. By the 1950s, this bomber could already reach the borders of the USSR.

The main task of the Tu-95 was to strike strategic targets deep behind enemy lines. Later, Russia introduced newer versions of this aircraft - Tu-95MS and Tu-95MSM, as well as the Tu-160.

Ukraine also had these aircraft in its arsenal. As of 1993, Ukraine had 23 Tu-95MS units. However, the government later decided to get rid of these aircraft; three planes were included in the agreement to pay off debts for Russian gas supplies.

According to open sources, Russia had around 60 Tu-95MS aircraft in 2021. Defense Express notes that the actual number of these strategic bombers in Russia is significantly lower.

Aircraft specifications

Tu-95MS can carry up to 6 Kh-555 missiles on internal suspension nodes, while newer Tu-95MSM can carry a more modern Kh-101 cruise missile.

  • Crew: 7 people
  • Length: 49 m
  • Wingspan: 290 sq. m
  • Maximum speed: 830 km/h
  • Practical range: 10,500 km
  • Maximum combat load: 20,800 kg.

The main feature of this aircraft and the missiles it launches is their ability to fly thousands of kilometers. For example, the flight range of Kh-555 is up to 2500 km, and Kh-101 missiles can reach up to 5000 km, with a speed of up to 720 km/h.

Russia using Tu-95 in the war against Ukraine

Russia has been using Tu-95MS bombers since the early days of its full-scale invasion to strike Ukraine. Specifically, the aircraft targeted the rear areas of Ukraine.

The Russians have paused the use of these aircraft. According to the Ukrainian Air Force, the occupiers last used Tu-95 for strikes in mid-February 2024.

In August 2023, Ukrainian intelligence attacked the Soltsy airfield in the Novgorod region of Russia. As a result of a successful operation, a Russian Tu-22M3 bomber was destroyed.

For more details on the consequences of the attack on Kyiv on March 21, refer to RBC-Ukraine coverage.