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​russia Secretly Redeploys MiG-31 Aircraft, which can be Carriers of Kinzhal Type Missile, to Belbek Airfield Near Sevastopol

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russia’s MiG-31BM aircraft / Open source illustrative photo
russia’s MiG-31BM aircraft / Open source illustrative photo

There are two different modifications of MiG-31 aircraft. Each of them can pose a threat to Ukraine

Satellite images have appeared in open access, which indicate that no later than October 15, 2023, the russian invaders in the temporarily occupied Crimea suddenly placed at least four MiG-31 aircraft at the Belbek airfield.

These aircraft are standing in open parking lots, between which improvised barriers have been installed - probably in order to reduce the possible flight of debris in the event of an attack by the Ukrainians.

Read more: Showing Off in Front of Kim: Dissecting the Claims of russian Missile with 1,750 kg of Explosive and New Kinzhal Carrier MiG-31I

In addition, up to 10 Su-27 and Su-30 aircraft can be seen in these satellite images, either under cover or in sheltered stands. OSINT analyst MT_Anderson made the relevant images publicly available on his profile on X.

russia Secretly Redeploys MiG-31 Aircraft, which can be Carriers of Kinzhal Type Missile, to Belbek Airfield Near Sevastopol, russian MiG-31 aircraft  in Belbek, October 15, 2023, Defense Express
russian MiG-31 aircraft in Belbek, October 15, 2023 / Photo credit: MT_Anderson

From Defense Express, we add the following to this story. The sudden appearance of russia’s MiG-31s in Belbek fully correlates with the intention of the russian federation to begin patrolling over the Black Sea by aircraft carrying the Kynzhal aeroballistic missiles. But on the other hand, these satellite images do not give a clear understanding of exactly which modification the occupiers have placed in Crimea.

Since we can also be talking about the MiG-31K, which, in fact, is the carrier of the Kynzhal missiles. In this way, Belbek can be a new airfield for performing demonstration flights, which can be accompanied by the announcement of alarms throughout the territory of Ukraine.

russia Secretly Redeploys MiG-31 Aircraft, which can be Carriers of Kinzhal Type Missile, to Belbek Airfield Near Sevastopol, The russians are preparing the MiG-31K with the Kynzhal missile for takeoff, Defense Express
The russians are preparing the MiG-31K with the Kynzhal missile for takeoff / Illustrative image of pre-war times

It is also possible that these could be MiG-31BM aircraft - interceptors capable of using R-37M air-to-air missiles with a launch range of approximately 200 kilometers. And then these aircraft may have a slightly different task - to prevent missile strikes by the Defense Forces of Ukraine against military facilities in the temporarily occupied Crimea, using subsonic cruise missiles of the Neptune, Storm Shadow and SCALP-EG types.

russia Secretly Redeploys MiG-31 Aircraft, which can be Carriers of Kinzhal Type Missile, to Belbek Airfield Near Sevastopol, russia's MiG-31BM aircraft, Defense Express
russia's MiG-31BM aircraft / illustrative photo of pre-war times
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