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Drones hit Russian bases 2nd day

Ukraine not confirming it carried out Tuesday’s strikes by JAMEY KEATEN The Associated Press | December 7, 2022 at 4:52 a.m.
Ukrainian soldiers fire French MO-120-RT-61 120 mm rifled towed mortar at Russian positions in the frontline near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/LIBKOS)

KYIV, Ukraine -- Drones struck inside Russia's border with Ukraine Tuesday in the second day of attacks exposing the vulnerability of some of Moscow's most important military sites, observers said.

Ukrainian officials did not formally confirm carrying out drone strikes inside Russia, and they have maintained ambiguity over previous high-profile attacks.

But Britain's Defense Ministry said Russia was likely to consider the attacks on Russian bases more than 300 miles from the border with Ukraine as "some of the most strategically significant failures of force protection since its invasion of Ukraine."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian authorities will "take the necessary measures" to enhance protection of key facilities. Russian bloggers who generally maintain contacts with officials in their country's military criticized the lack of defensive measures.

A fire broke out at an airport in Russia's southern Kursk region that borders Ukraine after a drone hit the facility, the region's governor said Tuesday. In a second incident, an industrial plant 50 miles from the Ukrainian border was also targeted by drones, which missed a fuel depot at the site, Russian independent media reported.


"They will have less aviation equipment after being damaged due to these mysterious explosions," said Yurii Ihnat, spokesman for the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. "This is undoubtedly excellent news because if one or two aircraft fail, then in the future, some more aircraft may fail in some way. This reduces their capabilities."

Moscow blamed Kyiv for unprecedented attacks on two air bases deep inside Russia on Monday. The attacks on the Engels base in the Saratov region on the Volga River and the Dyagilevo base in the Ryazan region in western Russia were some of the most brazen inside Russia during the war.


In the aftermath, Russian troops carried out another wave of missile strikes on Ukrainian territory struck homes and buildings and killed civilians, compounding damage done to power and other infrastructure over weeks of missile attacks.

Approximately half of households in the Kyiv region remain without electricity, the regional governor said Tuesday, while authorities in the southern Odesa say they have managed to restore power to hospitals and some vital services.

In a new display of defiance from Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to an eastern city near the front line. Marking Ukraine's Armed Forces Day, Zelenskyy traveled to the eastern Donetsk region and vowed to push Russian forces out of all of Ukraine's territory.

"Everyone sees your strength and your skill. ... I'm grateful to your parents. They raised real heroes," Zelenskyy said Tuesday in a video address to Ukrainian forces from the city of Sloviansk, a key Ukrainian stronghold in the east.

The Tu-141 Strizh (Swift) drone entered service with the Soviet air force in the 1970s and was designed for reconnaissance duties. It can be fitted with a warhead that effectively turns into a cruise missile.

Unlike modern drones, it can only stay in the air for a limited amount of time and fly straight to its designated target.

Its outdated technology makes it easily detectable by modern air defense systems and easy to shoot down.

Another Soviet-built drone in the Ukrainian armed forces' inventory, the Tu-143 Reis (Flight) has a much shorter range of about 110 miles.

A Russian pro-war blogger posting on the Telegram channel "Milinfolive" on Monday hit out at Russian military leadership, alleging that incompetence and lack of proper fortifications at the airbases made Ukrainian drone strikes possible.

Russia's Defense Ministry said three Russian servicemen were killed and four others wounded by debris, and that two aircraft were slightly damaged.

After Ukrainian forces took control in November of the major Russian-occupied city of Kherson, neither side has made significant advances. But Ukrainian officials have indicated that the country plans to pursue counteroffensives during the winter when frozen ground is conducive to moving heavy equipment. Kherson is still being hit by Russian rocket attacks but if Ukrainian forces establish firm control there it could be a bridgehead for advancing toward Crimea.

Pro-Kremlin political analyst Sergei Markov said the latest strikes by Ukraine "have raised questions about security of Russian military air bases."

The Engels base hosts Tu-95 and Tu-160 nuclear-capable strategic bombers that have been involved in strikes on Ukraine. Dyagilevo houses tanker aircraft used for mid-air refueling.

Print Headline: Drones hit Russian bases 2nd day

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