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​Activity at Zyabrovka Airfield in belarus: Assessing the Threat of russian Air Strikes Coming From the Hostile Air Base (Satellite Photo)

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Zyabrovka airfield in belarus / Credit: Planet Labs
Zyabrovka airfield in belarus / Credit: Planet Labs

The Zyabrovka airfield has been prepared to receive russian aircraft since the beginning of January, and is also used as a launch site for missile strikes on Ukraine

The Zyabrovka [Зябраўка] airfield in belarus is a place of direct threat for Ukraine in view of the fact that it can become a rather convenient tactical base for the russian aviation, attack jets in the first place, and is also known for hosting S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, that the russians use for shelling Ukrainian cities.

Thanks to the publicly available and quite detailed satellite images provided by Planet Labs, taken on January 4, we have an opportunity to investigate the situation at this air base.

Read more: How russians Fortify Positions On the Melitopol Direction Around Tokmak And What Ukraine’s Military Is Preparing For
Zyabrovka airport is located 22 km from the border with Ukraine near the city of Gomel
Zyabrovka airport is located 22 km from the border with Ukraine near the city of Gomel / Credit: Planet Labs

At the beginning of January belarusian sources noticed that the airfield was being prepared for the reception of aviation: the runway was cleared, but now it is covered with snow again.

The embankments for radars, which can also host S-300 and S-400 air defense missile systems, remain empty, too.

Deployment of stations in the eastern part of the airfield hasn't changed as well
Deployment of stations in the eastern part of the Zyabrovka airfield hasn't changed / Credit: Planet Labs

Three pieces of special equipment with antenna masts have seen no movement since June 2022. Unfortunately, it was impossible to identify these objects, but presumably those are signal intelligence or electronic warfare stations.

A few more unidentified vehicles are located in the northern part of the field. But they also have not changed their position for more than half a year already.

Deployment of vehicles in the northern part of the Zyabrovka airfield hasn't changed / Credit: Planet Labs
Deployment of vehicles in the northern part of the Zyabrovka airfield hasn't changed / Credit: Planet Labs

However, in the middle part of the base, we can see new equipment deployed onto the embankment that was empty in October last year. There were as well several personnel spotted nearby, and they were involved with some equipment.

An embankment, personnel and equipment arrive in the middle area of the Zyabrovka airfield
An embankment, personnel and equipment arrive in the middle area of the Zyabrovka airfield / Credit: Planet Labs

Very carefully, we can assume that those are the S-300/400 air defense systems based on the size of the objects.

A bit to the south, there is still that piece of military equipment with a characteristic station and a mast. If we compare the picture with images of the same location released previously, we can see there was a relocation of the vehicles in this area.

Some vehicles in the southern area of the Zyabrovka airfield were moving
Some vehicles in the southern area of the Zyabrovka airfield were moving / Credit: Planet Labs

In conclusion, as we see there is still activity going on at the Zyabrovka airfield, new personnel are involved and new weapon platforms are created. The chance of it being used for further missile strikes on Ukraine is quite high. On the other hand, the possibility of it becoming a host base for russian military jet aircraft remains low, although it may still be used by army aviation – transport and attack helicopters.

Read more: Russians Preparing the Airfield In Occupied Berdyansk For a Circular Defense: Three Rows of Wagner Pyramids And 15 Km of Fortifications