Russia’s much-vaunted new S-350 Vityaz ground-based air defense system has made what seems to be its first appearance in the war in Ukraine, with evidence of deployment at an airbase less than 40 miles from the Ukrainian border. Introducing this medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system to this particular facility is interesting, suggesting broader Russian concerns that Ukraine is increasingly in a position to attack bases beyond its borders. This would make some sense following the high-profile attack on Russia’s Saki Air Base in southern Crimea, as well as previous clandestine operations.
Elements of an S-350 system can be seen in a recently released official Russian Ministry of Defense video depicting operations by Su-25 Frogfoot close air support aircraft at an unnamed airbase involved in the Ukrainian war. The video was published to accompany reports that Russian Su-25s had “eliminated military facilities and equipment” belonging to Ukraine on August 12.
The location of the video is almost certainly Taganrog Air Base, near the port city of the same name in Rostov Oblast, on the Sea of Azov. The base, also known as Taganrog Tsentralnyi, is normally home to the roughly 20 Il-76MD Candid transport aircraft of the 708th Military Transport Aviation Regiment.
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