RUSSIA: On Tuesday, the regional governor stated that a drone had targeted an airfield in the Ukrainian-bordering Russian province of Kursk, causing an oil storage tank to catch fire. It took place a day after it appeared that Ukraine had launched audacious drone strikes on two military airfields deep within Russian territory.
“There were no casualties. The fire is contained. On-site, all emergency services are in operation,” the governor, Roman Starovoyt, said on the messaging app Telegram.
Videos circulating on social media show a massive fire broke out at the airstrip, which was 175 miles (280 km) from the Ukrainian border, after a massive explosion that lit up the night sky. A substantial column of black smoke was still perceptible over the location at dawn. Moscow and Kiev have not yet made any comments.
Modified Strizh drones, which were initially created in the 1970s during the Soviet era and intended for use as target practise, were cited by Russian officials as the cause of Monday’s strikes.
In recent weeks, Ukrainian attacks against Russian military targets have grown more audacious as Kyiv tries to move Vladimir Putin’s fight against Ukraine to the domestic front.
Russia’s defence ministry reported on Monday that two airbases in south-central Russia, Ryazan, and Saratov, had been attacked by Ukrainian drones, resulting in the deaths of three service members, four injuries, and damage to two aircraft.
No one among the assaults’ direct perpetrators was named—not even Ukraine. However, a senior Ukrainian official was quoted by the media as saying that at least one of the strikes on Monday was carried out with the assistance of special forces stationed nearby. The drones used in the attacks were launched from Ukrainian territory, the official claimed.
Images shared by Israeli satellite imaging company ImageSat International showed burn damage and objects close to a Tu-22M aircraft at Ryazan’s Dyagilevo airbase.
“The low-flying drones used in the attacks on Monday were shot down,” said the Russian defence ministry, adding that the attacks were terroristic attempts to bring down long-range aircraft.
The distance from Saratov to the closest Ukrainian region is at least 370 kilometres. Commentators from Russia claimed on social media that if Ukraine was able to strike that deeply within their country, it might also be able to hit Moscow.
Serhiy Zgurets, a military analyst for Ukraine, said that the air force bases attacked on Monday were the only ones in Russia that could fully maintain the bombers used to launch assaults against Ukraine.
The most recent drone strike occurred as a Russian official seemed to deny recent reports that Moscow and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were close to agreeing to withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power project.
The spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, declared that any withdrawal by Russia from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station or handing over of authority to a “third party” is out of the question.
Rafael Grossi, the director general of the IAEA, stated last week that he hoped to strike a deal with Russia and Ukraine by the end of the year to secure the nuclear plant, which is seized by Russia.