Russian military Telegram channels expressed anger and outrage as Ukraine targeted two airfields in Russian-held cities of Luhansk and Berdiansk, claiming the Ukrainian forces had used ATACMS long-range missiles the United States have not officially provided.

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Overnight on Tuesday, social media accounts from two eastern Ukrainian cities, including a regional one held by pro-Russian and Russian forces since 2014, posted videos of explosions and fire at airfields nearby.

The strike is confirmed by the FIRMS service, a NASA fire map. Three marks are visible in the area of the Berdiansk airfield, and the description indicates that the fire started after 04:00 am.

Photo: FIRMS
Photo: FIRMS

While Russia officially confirmed the attack, it claimed, as always, that the air defence had successfully taken down all air targets, including missiles.

However, so-called ‘military’ Telegram channels, which claim to cover Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine independently from the defence ministry, decried the attack, saying it was "one of the most serious" in the full-scale war and resulted in "losses in equipment and personnel".

Some of them even claimed that Ukraine had used ATACMS long-range missiles, which Kyiv has long asked the US to provide—and which have never been confirmed to have reached Ukrainian soil. As usual, Russian Telegram channels did not provide any evidence to support their claims.

Photo: PlanetLab
Photo: PlanetLab

Nikolayesvkiy Vanyok, a Telegram channel believed to be linked to the Ukrainian military fighting in the southern regions, claims the attack on the Berdiansk airfield targeted a "large helicopter fleet" of Ka-52 Alligator and Mi-8, as well as several Mi-28 and Mi-24 units.

It claims "more than 10" Russian helicopters were damaged, several destroyed, and a USD 1.2 billion anti-aircraft missile and gun system sustained damage as well.