TechRussia shifts focus: Troops and bombers moved from Finnish border

Russia shifts focus: Troops and bombers moved from Finnish border

Russian bombers Tu-160 and Tu-95 - illustrative photo
Russian bombers Tu-160 and Tu-95 - illustrative photo
Images source: © Planet Labs
Karolina Modzelewska

21 June 2024 16:07

Russia has relocated most of its soldiers and military equipment from the Finnish border to Ukraine, reports Defence Express, citing the Finnish public broadcaster Yle. This redeployment is evident in satellite photos showing empty military bases. It appears that Tu-160 and Tu-95 bombers, along with S-400 systems, are required more urgently elsewhere.

An anonymous representative of Finnish intelligence has stated that approximately 80% of Russian resources have disappeared from military bases near the Finnish border. According to the representative, Russia is consolidating its military personnel and equipment from across the country, excluding the Moscow region. The most significant changes have taken place at the technical base in Petrovsk. Notable differences were also observed at the base near Petrozavodsk, with dozens of equipment elements removed between June 2023 and May 2024. This withdrawal from NATO borders contradicts the Kremlin's narrative of growing threats from the Alliance.

Russia is withdrawing from NATO borders

The bases near the Finnish borders previously housed bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons, such as the Tu-160 and Tu-95, as well as S-400 Triumf missile systems. These are systems that Russia frequently employs in Ukraine. The S-400, a fourth-generation surface-to-air missile system developed by the Almaz-Antey Central Design Bureau, is designed to destroy aerial targets, including aircraft, helicopters, drones, and ballistic missiles. Depending on the missile used, its range spans about 40 to 380 kilometres. S-400 systems are principal targets of Ukrainian attacks. Some theories suggest that Kyiv is destroying such targets in preparation for the arrival of Western F-16 fighters.

Among the "disappearing" military equipment are also Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers, designed by the Tupolev Design Bureau. The Tu-95 is a strategic bomber or long-range reconnaissance aircraft, conceived over 70 years ago, with production beginning in the mid-1990s. This aircraft has a range of about 10,000 kilometres and can operate at altitudes close to 14,000 metres. The Tu-95 is capable of carrying up to 15 metric tonnes of weaponry, including nuclear payloads.

Tu-160 bombers are newer constructions. These supersonic strategic bombers are often employed by Russia as a nuclear deterrent and are considered by them as proof of the strength of Russian aviation. "White Swans," as they are known, feature variable-geometry wings. These bombers, among the heaviest supersonic military aircraft globally, can carry approximately 29 metric tonnes of weaponry and achieve speeds of up to 2,200 kilometres per hour.

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