A Russian Tu-95 Pilot Behind Strikes on Ukraine Shot Dead Inside Russia’s Engels Airbase

Major Oleg Sergeevich Stegachyov. Photo Twitter.

Russian strategic bomber pilot who was “directly involved in launching missile strikes on civilian objects in Ukraine” has been shot close to a major Russian airbase inside Moscow’s territory, Ukraine’s military intelligence agency has said.

A Tu-95 bomber pilot, named by Ukraine’s GUR as Major Oleg Sergeevich Stegachyov, was shot in the western Russian city of Engels, east of Ukraine’s borders, Kyiv said on Saturday.

The GUR said it was working to confirm whether the Russian pilot had survived the shooting.

He was “directly involved in launching missile strikes on civilian objects in Ukraine and killing our people,” the military intelligence agency said in a statement, adding he served at the Engels airbase close to the city in Russia’s Saratov region.

Ukraine made no mention of the circumstances under which the reported shooting occurred.

“We remind you that retribution awaits all war criminals—we know your names, addresses, car numbers, usual routes and habits,” the GUR said.

Ukraine has targeted the Engels base, which houses part of Russia’s long-range bomber fleet used to attack Ukraine, including the Tu-95. It sits around 300 miles from the Ukrainian border, deep in internationally recognized Russian territory. Kyiv rarely publicly acknowledges its involvement in strikes over the border, but often hints at responsibility for hits on Russian assets used to attack Ukraine.

In December 2022, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported two attacks on the Engels airbase, including a drone attack on December 5. Moscow said at the time that Ukraine had attacked the Engels airbase and the Dyagilevo facility in Russia’s Ryazan region, another home for Russian strategic bombers.

“Ukrainian forces likely sought to disrupt Russian strikes against Ukrainian critical infrastructure and demonstrate Ukraine’s ability to target Russian strategic assets,” the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War think tank said in an analysis published shortly after the strikes.

On December 26, Moscow then reported a second assault on the Engels airbase, blaming Kyiv for a drone onslaught.

In the wake of the attack, the British Defense Ministry suggested Moscow was “struggling to counter air threats deep inside Russia,” with Russia’s ground-based air defense systems in high demand around key bases like Engels.

Other Russian airbases, including its Soltsy-2 airfield in the Novgorod region and the Pskov base in western Russia, have become targets for Ukraine’s military intelligence service.

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