Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Directorate (GUR) has declassified details of a unique mission conducted in 2023.
In August 2023, Ukraine’s military intelligence conducted a high-risk mission deep within enemy territory, destroying a Russian Tu-22M3 Backfire bomber at the Soltsy-2 military airfield in Novgorod Oblast, Russia.
Russia used Tu-22M3 with Cold War-era Kh-22 (AS-4 Kitchen) cruise missiles to carry out airstrikes on Ukraine’s infrastructure.
The operation, led by Colonel Oleg Babiy, a Ukrainian intelligence officer, involved an arduous march spanning over 600 kilometers on foot through hostile territory.
The mission’s objective was to halt the Russian aerial bombardment of Ukrainian cities. Babiy’s unit successfully struck the Tu-22M3 and inflicted damage on two additional bombers. However, the operation was not without significant loss. While returning to Ukrainian-controlled territory, Babiy’s reconnaissance group was ambushed by Russian forces. During the skirmish on August 30, 2023, Babiy sustained fatal injuries while ensuring the escape of his comrades.
For his courageous actions, Oleg Babiy was posthumously honored with the title of Hero of Ukraine and awarded the “Gold Star” order.