Explosions hit two Russian air bases deep inside Russian territory early Monday morning, killing three Russian soldiers and damaging two aircraft, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Blasts were reported at the Dyagilevo airfield in the Ryazan Oblast and Engels airfield in the Saratov Oblast, two locations that are over 250 miles from the Ukrainian border. The Russian Defense Ministry said the attacks were carried out by Ukraine using a number of drones.
Kyiv hasn’t taken official credit for the attack, but an anonymous senior Ukrainian official speaking to The New York Times said Ukrainian forces were responsible. The official said the drones were launched from Ukrainian territory and claimed one strike was made with the help of Ukrainian special forces inside Russia. The Times report said that the Engels airfield houses some Russian long-range nuclear-capable bombers.
Drone attacks have been reported throughout the war in Russian regions near the Ukrainian border, but the incident on Monday is significantly further inside Russia than previous attacks.
Following the attacks in Ryazan and Engels, Russia launched another barrage of missile strikes targeting energy infrastructure in Ukraine, putting more pressure on Ukraine’s already decimated power grid.
Russian strikes targeted major Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv and Odessa. According to South Front, the strikes left the Sumy and Mykolaiv regions without power, and partial blackouts were reported in the Kharkiv, Zhytomyr, and Odessa regions.
The Russian Defense Ministry described the missile barrage as a “massive strike” on Ukrainian infrastructure and said all “17 assigned objectives were hit.” Russia did not launch large-scale attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure until after the October truck bombing of the Kerch Bridge, which connects Crimea to the Russian mainland.
The Russian attacks on energy infrastructure have left Ukrainian civilians in a dire situation, as millions are without power, heat, and water. Ukraine is struggling to repair its power grid and is looking to the US and its other Western backers for support.