The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense mocked Russia’s decision to cover the wings of its Tu-95 strategic bombers with used car tires in efforts to deter drone attacks on Moscow’s airbases.
Photos of the old tires first circulated Sunday on X, formerly Twitter, after being posted by user Tatarigami_UA, who’s self-described as a Ukrainian military officer in the reserves. The user said that Russia was placing used tires on strategic bombers at its military airfields in Engles, roughly 500 miles southeast of Moscow.
“This is russian know-how: anti-drone protection on a strategic aircraft made from used tires,” Ukraine’s defense ministry wrote on its X account Tuesday, along with a photo of one of Russia’s Tu-95 aircrafts with what appears to be car tires covering the wings and part of the body of the plane.
“Eco-friendly, effective, and reliable. If only protection like this had been installed on the interplanetary station Luna-25!” the account added, referring to Moscow’s spacecraft that crashed onto the moon’s surface last month during the country’s first lunar mission since 1976.
Newsweek was unable to independently verify the photos, and reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry via email for comment.
Several attacks have been made on Russian airbases in recent months, such as a drone attack last week in northwest Russia that destroyed up to seven aircraft, including four military transport planes. Moscow has blamed Kyiv for the uptick in strikes, although Ukraine often does not take direct responsibility for attacks made on Russian soil.
The independent Russian news outlet Verstka reported at the end of August that 24 Russian military aircraft have been destroyed outside Moscow’s territory since the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, citing open-source data and reports from the Russian Ministry of Defense.
British intelligence officials recently assessed that the drone strikes could be coming from within Russian territory after another attack destroyed a Russian Tu-22M3 bomber aircraft at an airbase in the Novgorod region in mid-August. Moscow claimed that Ukraine had destroyed the bomber using a copter drone to target the airfield, which is roughly 400 miles from the Russia-Ukraine border.
The U.K. government wrote on its X account that if a copter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) destroyed the aircraft, “this adds weight to the assessment that some UAV attacks against Russian military targets are being launched from inside Russian territory,” saying that this type of vehicle generally lacks the range needed to reach the airbase from outside Russia.