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Drone attack hits airfield in Russia’s Kursk region: officials

06.12.2022 10:00
An attack by an unmanned aerial vehicle set fire to an oil storage tank at an airfield in Russia’s western Kursk region, officials said on Tuesday morning.
An attack by an unmanned aerial vehicle set fire to an oil storage tank at an airfield in Russias western Kursk region, officials said on Tuesday morning.
An attack by an unmanned aerial vehicle set fire to an oil storage tank at an airfield in Russia’s western Kursk region, officials said on Tuesday morning.Photo: Wikimedia Commons

There were no casualties, according to regional governor Roman Starovoyt, the British broadcaster BBC reported. 

“The fire is localized. All emergency services working at the site,” the governor added on the Telegram messaging app, the UK’s The Guardian newspaper said on its website.

Starovoyt wouldn’t be drawn on who could be behind the attack, the BBC reported.

Ukraine behind blasts at Russian airbases?

Tuesday’s incident comes after explosions rocked two of Russia’s strategic Russian air force bases on Monday, news outlets reported.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US think tank, said: “Ukrainian forces likely conducted strikes on two Russian strategic airbases on December 5, inflicting light damage while demonstrating Ukraine’s ability to strike Russian rear areas and possibly disrupt Russia’s campaign of strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure."

In its latest analysis of the war in Ukraine, published on Monday night, the ISW noted that, according to the Russian Ministry of Defence and several bloggers, “Ukrainian forces used UAVs to strike the Engels-2 airbase in Saratov Oblast (approximately 315 miles from Ukrainian territory) and the Dyagilevo Air Base in Ryazan Oblast (approximately 285 miles from Ukrainian territory).”

Both facilities house parts of Russia’s strategic bomber fleet, which “Russia has employed to strike Ukraine throughout the war,” the US experts wrote. 

They cited Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak, who said in a tweet that the Kremlin should have known that “if something is launched into other countries’ airspace, sooner or later unknown flying objects will return to departure point.” 

At the same time, the ISW noted that Ukraine has not formally claimed responsibility for the strikes.

According to Russian sources, “a Ukrainian drone struck aircraft at the Engels-2 Airbase in Saratov Oblast, Russia, damaging strategic bombers and missile carriers,” while another Ukrainian drone “destroyed a Russian fuel truck at the Dyagilevo Air Base in Ryazan Oblast, Russia,” the US think tank reported.

Russia’s Ministry of Defence “claimed that the strike intentionally targeted Russian long-range aircraft,” the ISW wrote, adding that Ukrainian forces “likely sought to disrupt Russian strikes against Ukrainian critical infrastructure and demonstrate Ukraine’s ability to target Russian strategic assets.”

Ukraine making emergency shutdowns after Russian attacks on power grid

Meanwhile, Ukraine is switching to emergency shutdowns to stabilise its power system after Russia’s missile strikes on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday night.

Summarising Monday’s wave of Russian attacks, the ISW said: “Russian forces conducted missile strikes targeting Ukrainian civilian and energy infrastructure in Kyiv, Odesa, Vinnytsia, and Zaporizhia Oblasts,” citing both Russian and Ukrainian sources.

The US think tank quoted the Ukrainian General Staff as reporting that Ukrainian air defences “shot down 60 of over 70 missiles launched.”

Meanwhile, the deputy head of Ukraine's Presidential Office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said that the Russian attacks damaged a power supply line in the northeastern Sumy Oblast, the US experts said. 

The ISW reiterated its previous assessment that “while Ukrainian and Western-provided air defenses are further reducing Russia’s dwindling supply of precision munitions, the small percentage of Russian strikes getting through Ukraine’s air defenses are nevertheless having significant effects on Ukrainian critical infrastructure.”

Four people were killed in Monday’s strikes, the BBC reported.

There were further strikes on the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region overnight, with missiles hitting critical infrastructure and residential houses near Zaporizhzhia City, the BBC said on Tuesday morning, citing regional officials.

Tuesday is day 286 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: understandingwar.org, theguardian.com, bbc.com, president.gov.ua