Russia forced to move fighter jets to disuse Crimea airfields to escape threat of Western missiles

Russia has begun overhauling unused airfields in Crimea because of the threat of long-range strikes by Ukrainian forces, pro-Kyiv partisans have claimed.

Work was underway to reopen abandoned bases at Kirovskoye, near Feodosia, and Bagerovo, near Kerch, in response to the latest attacks on the occupied peninsula, according to the Atesh movement.

An agent of Russia’s 27th Aviation Division shared details of plans to reopen Zavodskoye airport in Simferopol, the group added in a post on the Telegram messaging app.

The anonymous account said repairs were being carried out on the runways, taxiways and buildings. It was also claimed that the Russians have transferred military equipment to the airfield, which has only been used for flights to and from Russia since Crimea’s illegal annexation in 2014.

“In connection with the positive trends in the destruction of military installations of the Russian Federation on the peninsula, the occupiers are rapidly trying to restore abandoned places, such as the Kirovskoye airfields and Bagerovo,” Atesh wrote.

“But our agents are vigilantly monitoring this and promptly transfer information into reliable hands.”

Ukraine has stepped up its attacks on Russian positions on the peninsula, in a move Western analysts say is designed to loosen Vladimir Putin’s grip on the territory.

The recent delivery of longer-ranged ATCM missiles, which can hit targets around 190 miles away, from America have seen an escalation in the attacks.

A long-range radar system, valued at $100 million, that watched over a 380-kilometer section of the front line in Ukraine was destroyed in a separate drone strike.

Airfields, air-defence barriers and docked warships have all been targeted as part of the Ukrainian campaign to squeeze Crimea.

Meanwhile, strikes on Moscow’s Black Sea naval fleet since the start of the invasion have led to most of its ships being relocated to ports in Western Russia to keep them out of the range of Ukraine’s maritime drones.

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