Two airbases in regions far from the border were targeted by drones, Moscow claims
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov gives a briefing on the military operation in Ukraine at the Russian National Defense Management Center, in Moscow © Ministry of Defense Press Service
A Ukrainian drone strike on two Russian airbases in the Ryazan and Saratov regions has resulted in the deaths of three service members and minor damage to two airplanes, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday.
A number of “Soviet-made” jet drones, flying at low altitude, targeted the long-range strategic aviation assets at the Dyagilevo airfield in Ryazan Region and Engels airfield in Saratov Region, according to the ministry. While they were detected and shot down by air defenses, the debris impacted the airfields, “slightly” damaging two aircraft.
Three service members were “fatally injured” while four more were taken to military hospitals for treatment.
Ukrainian drones have previously attacked the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol and targeted the Russian navy in Crimea, but Monday’s attack reached deep inside Russia. The Dyagilevo airfield is more than 500 km from Ukrainian-controlled territory, while Engels is about 700 km away.
The “terrorist act” did nothing to disrupt the work of Russian strategic aviation, the ministry added, noting that a “massive strike” was carried out against Ukrainian energy, defense industry, communication and military command centers on Monday afternoon local time. The strikes successfully disrupted the rail transport of Ukrainian troops, foreign-supplied weapons, equipment and ammunition to the front lines.
“All 17 assigned objectives were hit,” the ministry stated.
RIA Novosti reported that both airfields were extensively photographed over the weekend by satellites belonging to Maxar, a US-based private company.
According to military correspondent Aleksandr Kots, the attack was carried out by Tu-141 jet drones, originally developed in the USSR in the 1970s. One Ukrainian drone of the same type was involved in an incident in March, when it flew over Romania and Hungary undetected and crashed near a student dormitory in the Croatian capital, Zagreb.