Among the bombers stationed at the base near Finland are, for example, two Tu-160 supersonic bombers and 14 Tu-95 bombers, according to satellite images from May, according to Norwegian media.
The Norwegian online magazine The Barents Observer claims that Russia has filled the platforms of Olenja airport on the Kola Peninsula with its heaviest bombers. It bases its data on satellite images taken from the air base on May 7, which have gone viral on Twitter.
Based on the images, Russia has kept 16 strategic bombers at the base, including Tu-160 supersonic bombers and Tu-95 bombers.
Olenja Air Base is located less than 200 kilometers from the border of Finland and Norway, both of which belong to the military alliance NATO.
The activation of the Olenja air base was first concerned about the activation of the Olenja airbase in the Western media during the War in Ukraine. At the time, it was reported that an extraordinary number of long-range bombers appeared at Olenja airport.
Read more: Russia sends extraordinary number of heavy bombers near Finnish border – Pekka Toveri: Here’s why
In both August and September, there were ten bombers at the airbase, also Tu-160 and Tu-95 models.
The Barents Observer says that based on satellite images taken in early May all platforms located along the Olenja runway are in use for the fleet. Accordingly, satellite images of the base show two Tu-160 supersonic bombers and fourteen Tu-95 bombers.
For example, the Tu-160 bomber has been called the largest bomber in the world. Its top speed is more than twice the speed of sound with a top speed of 2,200 kmph
It is possible to equip both Tu-160 and Tu95 aircraft with nuclear warheads. Russia usually keeps its nuclear weapons in separate warehouses near air bases, and according to the Barents Observer, such a warehouse is also located on the outskirts of the Olenka base, only 10 kilometers from it.
According to a Norwegian newspaper, the Tu-22M bombers have been kept in “parking areas” in the northwest part of the airbase. An Ilyushin Il-78 military transport plane was parked outside the apron, out of the way of the bombers.
According to the magazine, planes can thus take off with a short notice, giving Finland and Norway less time to identify flights near their airspace.
Major General E.V.P. Pekka Toveri considers it quite possible that a large number of heavy bombers have been brought to the Olenja base.
According to him, there is no need to panic in Finland, as strategic bombers are rarely used near the target country. They must fly “behind the big water” thousands of kilometers away.
They say that rapid shifting of focus from one base to another is a normal operation of the Air Force.
However, the bombers stationed at Olanza tell of some change. According to Comrade, the strategic bomber regiments in the west of Russia are normally in Shaykovka, about 200 kilometers from the border with Ukraine, and in Engels, about 600 kilometers from the Ukrainian occupation zone.
There could be many reasons for this move. Perhaps this is an exercise that is also a show of strength for the West. This could mean, for example, patrol flights made over large formations, for example, over the North Atlantic.
He finds another possible reason to move the equipment. Russia may have been forced to move its bombers to safety.
– There have now apparently been attacks in which Ukraine has shown it can strike deep into Russian territory, even as far as Engels. They can intimidate Russia for strategic bombers. The machines may have been moved for safety. Combat activity (in Ukraine) is expected to intensify in the summer.
The Barents Observer also offers the same view. According to the newspaper, the bombers seen in the satellite images were previously located at the Engels Air Base near the city of Saratov, some 600 km from Ukraine.
However, their location proved vulnerable when the base was attacked by drones in December. At least two Tupolev bombers were reportedly damaged in the attack. Ukraine is believed to be behind this and several other attacks on military targets.
Confusion persists over how Ukraine has managed to attack military targets deep in Russia.
Read more: What kind of weapons did Ukraine use to attack Russian targets? These are the main options
According to the Barents Observer, Russia has used bombers stationed at the air base in connection with missile attacks on Ukraine. According to the observer quoted by the Norwegian newspaper, planes have taken off from Olenja airport almost every day in the first week of May, and some flights have been linked to attacks on Ukraine.
Verkkolehti speculates that moving the bombers to the Olenja base is more likely to be a long-term solution than a momentary “evacuation”. According to Tovar, it is not yet possible to draw some conclusions based on satellite images.
– The (military) importance of the general areas is gradually increasing and Russia wants to secure its military superiority there. This means the center of gravity will shift over time, Toveri speculates.
– If military infrastructure begins to build up in the area to support the bombers, this is a sign of a more permanent transfer.
He was elected in the spring parliamentary elections as the Member of Parliament from the Ushima electoral district from the lists of the Toveri coalition.