Middle East Eye
April 27, 2022
A Turkish-supplied armed drone is believed to have been used by Ukraine to hit two oil depots well inside Russian territory on Monday, bringing the war behind the frontlines and embarrassing the Russia’s air defences.
A person familiar with the incident told Middle East Eye that a Turkish-made TB2 Bayraktar was used in the attack that took place in Bryansk, a small city 370km south of Moscow.
Russian reports indicated that Ukraine lost a TB2 the same day in Russia’s Kursk oblast after the fuel bombings in Bryansk, possibly while en route back to base.
The source familiar with the Ukrainian raid also confirmed that a TB2 Bayraktar played a role in sinking the guided-missile carrier Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, on 14 April.
“Ukraine’s anti-ship missile Neptune has some guiding issues. A TB2 Bayraktar must have resolved it by pinpointing the ship,” the source said.
Ukraine and Turkey have close defence industry cooperation, a relationship that has flourished in recent years. The TB2’s producer Baykar, which has close ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s family, was building a plant in Ukraine before the war.
Ukrainian companies also produce the TB2’s engines, and Turkey has sold more than 20 Bayraktars to Kyiv over the course of the past two years.
Frequent flights between Turkey and Poland over the last two months indicate that Turkey has continued to deliver TB2s and its MAM-L ammunition to Kyiv. Some experts believe six or 12 more TB2 have been delivered as agreed before the war.
TB2s have a proven track record of success against several adversaries in conflicts in Libya, Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh….
“Although we don’t have enough input to definitely assess the platform and munitions of choice, Ukraine hitting a critical logistics point in Russian territory is militarily critical,” Can Kasapoglu, director of defence at Istanbul-based think tank EDAM, told MEE.