Russia claims it shot down a Ukrainian drone approaching an airbase inside Russia
Kyiv, Ukraine — The Russian military said Monday it shot down a Ukrainian drone approaching an airbase deep in Russia, the second time the airbase has been attacked this month, raising questions about the effectiveness of Russia’s air defenses. Russia if drones can fly so far in the country. .
Russia’s Defense Ministry said the incident took place in the early hours of Monday and three servicemen were killed by debris at the Engels airbase which is home to the Tu-95 and Tu-160 nuclear-capable strategic bombers that have been involved in launching attacks against Ukraine. .
Engels is located in Russia’s Saratov region on the Volga River, more than 370 miles east of the Ukrainian border.
No damage was inflicted on the Russian planes, the ministry said.
Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat, speaking to Ukrainian television on Monday, did not directly acknowledge his country’s involvement in Monday’s incident, but said: “These are the consequences of Russian aggression.”
He added: “If the Russians thought that the war would not affect them in the deep rear, they were profoundly mistaken.”
Separately, Russia’s FSB national security service said Monday it had killed four “saboteurs” from Ukraine who tried to cross into Russia’s Bryansk border region, Agence France-Presse reported. The FSB claim was made by Russian news agencies.
The four had German submachine guns, navigation equipment and “four improvised explosive devices”, the FSB added.
Russia has accused Kyiv of organizing several sabotage attacks, including a Explosion that damaged a bridge linking annexed Crimea with Russia.
Ukrainian officials have never confirmed the shipment of drones to Russia. They have kept the ambiguity about previous high-profile attacks, including drone attacks on Russian military bases earlier this month.
On December 5, unprecedented drone strikes on Engels and the Dyagilevo base in the Ryazan region of western Russia killed a total of three servicemen and injured four more. The attacks on the airbases were followed by a massive retaliatory missile barrage in Ukraine that struck homes and buildings and killed civilians.
In Ukraine, at least four civilians have been injured in the Russian shelling of five regions in the country’s southeast over the past 24 hours, according to the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko. Overall, however, the intensity of the shelling from Sunday night to Monday has been significantly less.
For the first time in weeks, Russian forces did not shell the Dnipropetrovsk region, which borders the partially occupied southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, its governor Valentyn Reznichenko reported on Telegram.
“This is the third quiet night in five and a half months since the Russians began shelling” the areas around the city of Nikopol, Reznichenko wrote. Nikopol is located across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plantwhich is under the control of Russian forces.
Ukrainian-controlled areas of the neighboring Kherson region were shelled 33 times in the last 24 hours, according to the Ukrainian governor of Kherson, Yaroslav Yanushevich. There were no victims.
On Sunday, Russian forces attacked the city of Kramatorsk, where Ukrainian forces are based. Three missiles hit an industrial facility and damaged residential buildings, but no casualties were reported, according to the Ukrainian presidency’s battlefield report.
In the partially occupied eastern Donetsk region, fierce battles continue around the town of Bakhmut, which Russian forces have been trying to take for weeks to consolidate their hold on eastern Ukraine.
In the neighboring Luhansk region, which is almost entirely under Moscow’s control, Russian forces are “suffering huge losses and medical facilities are overwhelmed with wounded soldiers,” Ukrainian Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai told the Ukrainian television on Monday. The Russian military is redeploying paratroopers from the Kherson region to the area, Haidai said.
On Saturday, a deadly attack on the city of Kherson, which was retaken by Kyiv forces last month, left dozens dead and wounded. Local residents are lining up to donate blood for those injured in the deadly attack, Governor Yaroslav Yanushevich said on Monday.