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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

An Airport in Ukraine Was a ‘Death Trap’ for the Russian Military

Soldiers with the Ukrainian army’s 1st Battalion, 95th Separate Airmobile Brigade train with a DShK 12 mm machine gun during their training cycle at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center on the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv, Ukraine on Sept. 6. Yavoriv CTC Observer Coach Trainers, along with mentors from the Polish army and the U.S. Army's 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, led the training for soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 95th Separate Airmobile Brigade during the battalion's rotation through the Yavoriv CTC. The 45th is deployed to Ukraine as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, an international coalition dedicated to improving the CTC's training capacity and building professionalism within the Ukrainian army. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Eric McDonough, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)

Ukraine Shares Photos Of Destroyed Kherson Airport – Ukrainian Minister of defense Oleksii Reznikov shared photographs on Twitter on Saturday showing the damage done to Kherson International Airport.

The airport, which was captured by the Russians almost immediately upon the invasion of Ukraine in February, is now seriously damaged following months of Ukrainian strikes on the site during Russian occupation.

When Russian forces abandoned Kherson city last month, they also left behind Chornovaivka Airport, located just six miles to the north of the river.

The images shared by the Ukrainian Defense Minister showed a man hanging from a blade of an abandoned Russian helicopter emblazoned with the recognizable “Z” symbol on its side.

Reznikov himself also appeared in one photograph wearing a protective helmet and standing in front of a derelict building and a half-destroyed airport sign.

“These are the remains of the Kherson (ХЕРСОН) International Airport. Russians will understand the first 3 letters of the city name without a translator… this is the only thing they can get from [Ukraine] Many of them, now fertilizing our fields, have already learned this. Best of luck!” Reznikov wrote.

Video footage of the destroyed airport was also shared on social media, revealing just how intense Ukrainian strikes on the facility during Russian occupation were.

Starting with a shot of the roads leading up to the airport, the video later shows the entrance to the building completely destroyed, runways with craters in the ground, and structures on the verge of collapse.

Significant parts of the building are already completely destroyed, too, with entire walls and windows were blown out.

Kherson Airport A “Death Trap”

Writing for Forbes, David Axe wrote in mid-November that the airport was a “death trap” for Russian troops during the occupation.

“No one should be surprised at what the Ukrainians discovered at Chornobaivka Airport, on the northern edge of Kherson city six miles north of the river,” Axe wrote, adding that the airport became a “veritable shooting gallery for Ukrainian artillery” for several months.

The bodies of Russians who died as a result of Ukrainian shelling on the site also reportedly littered the airport as Ukrainians entered the building following the withdrawal of Russian troops.

While the airport was ideal for storing weaponry and aircraft for the Russian side, the fact that Chornobaivka lies only 23 miles from Mykolaiv meant that it was in the easy firing range of Ukrainian artillerymen. The airport was also regularly targeted by Ukraine’s TB2 drones.

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.



  1. xheavy

    December 4, 2022 at 9:05 am

    I feel that Airports are a fatal terrain. Sure you can Airlift or Airassault etc and take the place. The problem is can you stay alive on it?

    Once you have it you must push out far enough to prevent enemy Artillery from chopping everything and everyone up on that Airfield. You would be dealing with 30 to 50 mile distances now if not more.

    Russia had a oppertunity I think briefly in the beginning of the invasion to use their Air Armies to simply show up and its all finished including UKR Leadership in Kiev downtown. However here we are almost a year later. What a waste.

    We will do well also to learn not to have reliance on Airports anymore in any war in the future. That means strips of road, dirt fields and farm fields big enough to take Planes would be it. Witness World War Two. England and Germany simply flew off Grassy fields. (No word on how they mowed the place…) And US Forces in the Pacific Islands used the bare minimum. Steel matting and so on.

    I remember a Picture from a Bright Star USAF Exercise into Egypt for warfare from the 80’s era. A beautiful field, neatly organized and flowing planes coming and going with everything in order. The actual concrete spread in all direction for miles without a single debris anywhere on it to interfere with Jet Engines.

    Contrasted with Soviet Era Airfields that resembled some of our American Salvage parts yards. Rusted out stuff, bad ground and failing cement where necessary under some gravel and so on. The planes flew out of them. They might not be pristine or got banged up but the fields were doing what they do.

    In the USA, forget our bases. You can expect them to be poof in a proper nuclear strike which would be necessary. To leave them functioning would be to our benefit. In exchange I recall from trucking miles of roads that can take any plane in our inventory. Just not exactly where you would like to have them be. OR have the necessary support in fuel, bombs, bullets and men along with the parts. We must learn to do without the cushy bases.

    This is the lesson of Ukraine. Throw away the airports in time of war against or defending against a invader. Those are a liability to both sides now. Learn to function without. Then maybe victory is possible.

  2. Friend

    December 4, 2022 at 11:56 am

    The Orcs are now back to using their Dreadnought strategy of overwhelming with numbers, largely due to you not supplying the guns.

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