Russia claims it shot down a Ukrainian drone approaching an airbase deep in Russia

Kyiv, Ukraine – The Russian military on Monday reported shooting down a Ukrainian drone approaching an airbase deep in Russia, the second time the airbase has been attacked this month and raising questions about the effectiveness of Russia’s air defenses, if drones can fly that far into the country.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said the incident occurred in the early hours of Monday and three soldiers were killed by debris at Engels airbase, home to the Tu-95 and Tu-160 nuclear-capable strategic bombers involved in attacks on the Ukraine were involved.

Engels is located in the Russian region of Saratov on the Volga, more than 600 km east of the border with Ukraine.

No damage was done to Russian aircraft, the ministry said.

Speaking to Ukrainian television on Monday, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat did not directly admit 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 hit them in the deep back, they were terribly mistaken.”

Russia-Ukraine War
A Ukrainian soldier watches a drone transmission from an underground command center in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, 25 December 2022.

Libko / AP


Separately, Russia’s state security service FSB said on Monday it had killed four “saboteurs” from Ukraine who were trying to enter Russia’s Bryansk border region, Agence France-Presse reported. The FSB claim was backed by Russian news agencies.

The four had on them German submachine guns, navigation equipment and “four improvised explosive devices,” the FSB added.

Russia has accused Kyiv of staging several sabotage attacks, including one Explosion that damaged a bridge connecting annexed Crimea to Russia.

Ukrainian officials have never confirmed that drones were sent to Russia. They have kept ambiguities about previous high-profile attacks, including Drone attacks on Russian military bases earlier this month.

On December 5, a total of three soldiers were killed and four others injured in unprecedented drone strikes on Engels and the Dyagilevo base in the Ryazan region of western Russia. The attacks on the air bases were followed by massive retaliatory rocket fire in Ukraine, hitting homes and buildings and killing civilians.

In Ukraine, at least four civilians have been injured in Russian shelling of five regions in the south-east of the country over the past 24 hours, according to Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko. Overall, however, the intensity of the shelling in the night from Sunday to Monday was significantly lower.

For the first time in weeks, Russian forces have not shelled the Dnepropetrovsk region, which borders the partially occupied southern Kherson and Zaporizhia regions, its governor Valentyn Reznichenko reported on Telegram.

“This is the third quiet night in 5.5 months since the Russians started shelling the areas around the city of Nikopol,” Reznichenko wrote. Nikopol is located on the other side of the Dnieper River Zaporizhia nuclear power plantcontrolled by the Russian Armed Forces.

Ukrainian-controlled areas of the neighboring Kherson region have been shelled 33 times in the past 24 hours, according to Ukrainian Kherson governor Yaroslav Yanushevich. There were no injuries.

On Sunday, Russian forces attacked the town of Kramatorsk, where Ukrainian forces are stationed. Three rockets hit an industrial plant 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 fighting continues around the town of Bakhmut, which Russian forces have been trying to capture for weeks in a bid to consolidate control of eastern Ukraine.

In the neighboring Luhansk region, which is almost entirely under Moscow’s control, Russian forces are suffering “huge casualties and medical facilities are overflowing with wounded soldiers,” Ukrainian Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai told Ukrainian television on Monday. The Russian army is deploying paratroopers from the Kherson region to the area, Haidai said.

On Saturday, a deadly attack on the city of Kherson, which was recaptured by Kiev’s forces last month, killed and wounded dozens. Local residents are lining up to donate blood for those wounded in the deadly attack, Governor Yaroslav Yanushevich said Monday.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ukraine-news-russia-war-drones-russian-air-bases-second-time/ Russia claims it shot down a Ukrainian drone approaching an airbase deep in Russia

Rick Schindler

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