: Russia has probably recalled its Su-27 fighters from Belarus – Bellingcat

14:27 Oct. 11, 2016

Russia has probably recalled its Su-27 fighters from Belarus – Bellingcat

The Russkiye Vityazi pilot group performs on the Sukhoi Su-27 fighter aircrafts (TASS via Getty Images)

Lukashenko managed to quell Russian plans for an airbase on the territory

The Russian Air Force appears to have recalled their Su-27SM from Belarus, Bellingcat group concluded after having reviewed satellite imagery of the 61st Fighter Airbase in Baranovichi.

Russia had four Su-27SM Flanker parked in revetments on the Quick Reaction Alert apron since December 2013. The multi-role fighters originally deployed as part of an advanced element that would eventually form a full forward deployed squadron.

Space snapshots acquired between May and September have not shown the return of the aircraft to the apron. A review of other active and reserve airfields also indicate they were not redeployed within the country.

Although no official reporting has mentioned the relocation, their absence may be a further sign that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko managed to quell Russian plans for an airbase on the territory.

Further yet, Belarus may have even found a way to get new equipment to support the declining air defence arm. Earlier in February, the country signed a deal with Irkut to procure new Su-30SM fighters, despite lacking funds for the purchase. Details regarding their potential sale were not made public.

The SU-30SM are expected to replace Belarus' ageing MIG-29 of which 10 were recently refurbished by the 558th Aircraft Repair Plant.

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