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Ukraine war latest: Ukraine strikes airfields in Russia, destroying or damaging 19 warplanes, sources say

A Russian Su-34 fighter jet in the sky over Kubinka airfield in Moscow Oblast in Russia on Aug. 29, 2020. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Mihail Tokmakov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
by The Kyiv Independent news desk and Dinara Khalilova April 6, 2024 12:24 AM 7 min read
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Key developments on April 5:

  • Ukraine strikes airfields in Russia, destroying or damaging 19 warplanes, sources say
  • Russian attacks on Zaporizhzhia kill 4, injure over 20
  • Ukraine's military denies Russian troops reached Chasiv Yar's suburb
  • Lithuania to purchase 3,000 drones for Ukraine
  • Military: Russian use of prohibited chemical weapons has become 'systemic'

Ukraine launched a series of drone strikes against military airfields in Russia in the early hours of April 5, allegedly destroying or damaging 19 warplanes, sources familiar with the matter told the Kyiv Independent.

According to a source in the military intelligence, that asked to remain anonymous as they weren't authorized to speak to the press, Ukraine successfully hit the Engels-2 air base, located in Russia's Saratov Oblast, located over 750 kilometers away from the nearest Ukrainian-controlled border.

The Engels military airfield is among the most important Russian military sites, regularly used for the country's attacks on Ukraine.

According to the intelligence source, Ukraine was able to damage or destroy three Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers that are used to attack the country with a variety of Kh-type air-launched cruise missiles.

Seven people were killed or injured, among them aircraft pilots, the source said.

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According to the same source, two more airfields were targeted on April 5 by the military intelligence – one in Yeysk, Krasnodar region, where two Su-25 jets were allegedly hit, another one near Kursk, where there's currently no information on the outcome.

Another overnight attack by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in cooperation with Ukraine's military targeted the Morozovsk air base in Rostov Oblast, according to the Kyiv Independent's sources familiar with the matter.

Su-34 fighter-bombers and Su-27 fighters were based at the airfield, the source said. Russia uses these aircraft to drop aerial bombs on Ukrainian military positions and Ukrainian front-line cities, according to the source.

Both Su-34 and Su-27 planes are estimated to cost over $35 million apiece.

At least six military aircraft were destroyed, and another eight were damaged, according to the source. Furthermore, about 20 Russian soldiers were reportedly killed or wounded.

The Kyiv Independent could not independently verify the information. Earlier on April 5, Russia reported a massive Ukrainian drone attack against several Russian regions, claiming to down 53 drones.

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Russian attacks on Zaporizhzhia kill 4, injure over 20

As of 8:30 p.m. local time, four people are confirmed to have been killed and over 20 injured in Russia’s April 5 missile attacks on Zaporizhzhia, Zaporizhzhia Oblast Governor Ivan Fedorov reported.

Zaporizhzhia, a city with a population of around 710,000, lies in Ukraine’s southeast. Zaporizhzhia is subjected to regular Russian attacks due to its proximity to the front line.

Among the injured were two journalists and a nine-year-old boy, Fedorov reported earlier.

According to the National Police, Russia hit Zaporizhzhia with three missiles first and then launched two more missiles. The second strike occurred in around 40 minutes when first responders were already working on the scene, said Fedorov.

Three apartment buildings, at least 10 houses, stores, and a dormitory were damaged, according to the local authorities.

The Kyiv Independent has previously reported on Russia's use of so-called "double-tap" strikes, in which there is an initial strike followed by a second – with a delay – so that it can potentially wound or kill first responders.

Russia's "double-tap" attacks against Ukraine have killed 91 first responders and injured 348 since the start of the full-scale war, Suspilne reported on April 4, citing information from the State Emergency Service.

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Ukraine's military denies Russian troops reached Chasiv Yar's suburb

Russian troops have not entered the suburbs of Chasiv Yar in Donetsk Oblast, a spokesperson for Ukraine's eastern command, Andrii Zadubinnyi, told Reuters on April 5.

Chasiv Yar lies around 10 kilometers west of Bakhmut and 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Avdiivka, two settlements that Russia captured in May 2023 and February 2024, respectively.

Russian troops have been focusing their efforts near Chasiv Yar, which they see as crucial for further advances toward Kostiantynivka, Kramatorsk, and Sloviansk, the Ukrainian military said.

Russian proxies claimed on April 5 that Moscow's forces allegedly reached the suburb of Chasiv Yar, according to Kremlin-controlled news agency RIA Novosti.

Zadubinnyi urged not to believe Russian claims.

"The situation there is very difficult; the fighting continues, but they (Russian troops) are not there," Zadubinnyi said.

Lithuania to purchase 3,000 drones for Ukraine

Lithuania will purchase 3,000 Lithuanian drones for Kyiv and allocate 15 million euros (around $16 million) to rehabilitation programs for wounded Ukrainian soldiers, Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on April 5 during his visit to Vilnius.

Shmyhal arrived in Lithuania earlier on April 5 following his visits to the two other Baltic countries, Estonia and Latvia, previously this week.

"In addition, Lithuania is taking an active part in Ukraine's reconstruction and will allocate another 5 million euros for education and 12 million ($13 million) for helping veterans, rebuilding schools and kindergartens, and setting up shelters," Shmyhal said on his Telegram channel following a joint press conference with his Lithuanian counterpart, Ingrida Simonyte.

Shmyhal also reminded that Lithuania previously allocated 35 million euros ($38 million) to the Czech initiative to purchase artillery shells for Ukraine.

Vilnius has been one of Kyiv's staunchest supporters against Russian aggression. According to the Kiel Institute of the World Economy, Lithuania's defense contributions to Ukraine are one of the highest in the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) shares.

Earlier this year, Lithuania pledged a long-term 200 million euro (roughly $215 million) support package to Ukraine and promised to continue supporting the country.

During Shmyhal's visit to Riga on April 4, Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silina said that Latvia will soon deliver drones to Ukraine worth 1 million euros ($1.1 million).

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Military: Russian use of prohibited chemical weapons has become 'systemic'

The tendency of Russian troops to use munition with prohibited chemicals grows and has become "systemic," the command of Ukraine's Support Forces reported on April 5.

Ukrainian forces recorded 371 cases of usage of munition containing prohibited chemicals over the past month, which is 90 cases more than during the previous one.

For such attacks, Russia primarily uses K-51 and RG-VO grenades, which are delivered via drones, according to the Support Forces.

In total, Russian troops have used munitions with chemicals, which are banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention, 1,412 times over the past year.

"Such actions on the part of the Russian Federation are taking on a systemic pattern, and this tendency only grows," the Support Forces' report said.

Earlier, Dmytro Lykhovyi, a spokesperson for Ukraine's Tavria Group of forces, said on March 10 that Russian forces had dropped grenades with suffocating and tear gas from drones about 50 times over the week.

Russian naval infantry units have also been confirmed to have used prohibited chemical weapons in the village of Krynky, located 30 kilometers northeast of Kherson, the Institute for the Study of War said on Dec. 23.

The 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons in war.

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