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Russia shoots down Ukrainian drone near Engels airbase

Ukrainian soldiers check a map at an underground command center in Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Libkos)
Ukrainian soldiers check a map at an underground command center in Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Libkos)

kyiv, Ukraine (AP) — Russia’s military said Monday it shot down a Ukrainian drone approaching an airbase deep in Russian territory, the second time the airbase has been attacked this month, raising questions about the effectiveness of Russia’s air defenses if drones can get that far inside the country.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said the incident took place in the early hours of Monday and that three servicemen were killed by debris at the Engels airbase which is home to the Tu-95 and Tu-160 nuclear-capable strategic bombers involved in the attack. launching attacks against Ukraine. .

Engels is in Russia’s Saratov region on the Volga River, more than 600 kilometers (more than 370 miles) east of the Ukrainian border.

There was no damage to Russian aircraft, the ministry said.

Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat, speaking to Ukrainian television on Monday, did not directly acknowledge his country’s involvement in Monday’s incident, but said “these are the consequences of Russian aggression.”

“If the Russians thought that the war would not affect them in the deep rear, they were deeply mistaken,” he added.

The Ukrainian authorities have never confirmed the shipment of drones to Russia. They have remained ambiguous about previous high-profile attacks, including drone strikes on Russian military bases earlier this month.

On December 5, unprecedented drone strikes on Engels and the Dyagilevo base in the Ryazan region of western Russia killed three servicemen and injured four more. The strikes on the airbases were followed by a massive retaliatory missile launch into Ukraine that hit homes and buildings and killed civilians.

In Ukraine, at least four civilians have been injured in Russian strikes against five regions in the country’s southeast over the past 24 hours, according to the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko. In general, the intensity of the attacks from Sunday night to Monday has been significantly less.

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