In what Moscow claimed was the third long-range attack by Ukrainian forces on its air bases in two days, drones allegedly hit an airfield in the city of Kursk on Tuesday and set a fuel storage facility on fire.
Following Monday’s attacks on Russian strategic-bomber bases in Engels and Diagilevo, the attack on the Kursk airport, which was closed to civil aviation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, was launched. The distance between the two bases and the Ukrainian-controlled area is many miles. Nearly 65 miles separate Kursk from the Ukrainian border.
The Ukrainian government has not responded to this week’s strikes, as it typically avoids claiming strikes on Russian soil. Officials from Ukraine suggested on Monday that their weapons could travel that far. Russia’s Ministry of Defense said Monday’s attack killed three service members and damaged two aircraft.
According to state media, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his national security council on Tuesday to discuss how to ensure “internal security.”
Western officials claim that Kyiv has partially offset this asymmetry with attacks on strategic targets far inside Russian territory, despite the fact that Ukraine lacks the long-range cruise and ballistic missiles that Moscow has been pelting Ukrainian cities with for the past nine months. These include the August devastation of several military aircraft at the Saki air base and the October attack on the bridge connecting Russia to Crimea. Observe on Watch
It was impossible to determine what weapons were employed in these raids. Without providing further information, Russia claimed that the attacks on Engels and Diagilevo on Monday were carried out using jet drones of Soviet design. Tu-141 The Ukrainian-made Strizh reconnaissance drones, which were created in the 1970s, have a vast operating range. According to military analysts, if fitted with a contemporary warhead and navigation system, they perform essentially like cruise missiles.
According to Roman Starovoyt, the region’s governor, firefighters were working to put out the blaze at the airfield in Kursk on Tuesday morning, and two nearby schools had their classes canceled for the day. He claimed that no one was hurt during the strike on Tuesday. Images posted on neighborhood news websites showed explosions just before dawn and a smoke plume rising into the sky just after sunrise.
The Belbek military air base in occupied Crimea was the target of another Ukrainian drone attack on Tuesday, according to Russian news outlets and military analysts. The incident was not supported by any independent evidence.
In an effort to incite a humanitarian crisis and pressure Kyiv into peace talks that would leave Moscow in control of occupied Ukrainian territory, analysts claim that Russia has heavily relied on its strategic aviation to launch cruise missiles at Ukrainian cities, specifically targeting the nation’s electricity infrastructure. Hours before the most recent barrage of over 70 cruise missiles fired by Russian strategic bombers and from Black Sea Fleet ships, Monday’s attacks in Engels and Diagilevo occurred.
The impact on Ukraine’s electricity supply was minimal compared to the multiday blackout brought on by the barrage on November 23, according to the country’s claim that it intercepted more than 60 of those missiles, which resulted in the deaths of four people. Only the southern region around Odessa lost power over the course of the night, according to officials, who announced on Tuesday that heating services had resumed. Russia may launch a second-day salvo on targets it missed the day before, Russian officials warned on Tuesday, a pattern Moscow has occasionally used in the past.
Along with ground- and sea-launched missiles, Russia’s nuclear triad also includes strategic bombers from the Soviet era. Losing any of these aircraft would be an irreparable blow to Russia’s economy because neither the airframes nor the engines are still produced. Russian news outlets published images from Diagilevo of a Tu-22 bomber that had been severely damaged by a strike while receiving refuel. The bomber appeared to have a Kh-22 missile already attached.
The attacks on Engels, the primary long-range aviation operating base in western Russia, and on Diagilevo, according to the British Ministry of Defense, would rank among Moscow’s “most significant failures of force protection since its invasion of Ukraine.” It also stated that officers found to be accountable for the incidents would likely face harsh punishment from the Russian chain of command.