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Moscow accuses Ukraine of drone attacks inside Russia

This handout satellite image, released and collected by Maxar Technologies on December 5, 2022, shows an overview of Engels Airbase, in Russia, which is a strategic bomber military base. (Via AFP)

Russia has accused Ukraine of using drones to attack a number of military airfields inside Russian territory.

The purported drone strikes occurred at an air field in Russia’s Kursk region, which borders Ukraine.

Officials in Kursk region released pictures of black smoke above an airfield in the early hours of Tuesday.

The region’s governor, Roman Starovoit, said an oil storage tank there had been set ablaze but there had been no casualties.

“As a result of a drone attack, an oil tanker caught fire near Kursk airfield. There were no casualties. The fire is being localized. Emergency services are working at the site,” Starovoit said.

He said he had held a meeting of the “anti-terrorist commission” and decided to “extend the yellow level of terrorist danger” for another 15 days. Classes at two schools were canceled following the incident.

The strike came one day after the Russian Defense Ministry in a statement blamed Ukraine for drone strikes on two military air bases. The ministry said Ukraine had used drones to attack two Russian military airfields on Monday morning, adding that its air defenses had intercepted the drones “in the Saratov and Ryazan regions.”

“On the morning of December 5, the (Kiev) regime, in order to disable Russian long-range aircraft, attempted to strike with Soviet-made jet unmanned aerial vehicles [drones] at the Diaghilevo military airfields in the Ryazan region and Engels in the Saratov region,” the statement read.

The two bases are hundreds of miles inside Russian territory and beyond the reach of Ukraine’s declared arsenal of drones.

Russia launched a fresh barrage of missiles toward Ukraine on Monday in response. The Ukrainian Air Force said that more than 60 Russian missiles had been intercepted. Yet some reached their targets in Kryvyi Rih and in the southern city of Odesa.

Meanwhile, a local official in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine said on Tuesday that incoming fire from Ukraine had killed at least six civilians in the city, which is controlled by the Russian military. "Preliminary data shows that, today six civilians were killed as a result of shelling in Donetsk, the number of wounded is being specified," Alexei Kulemzin said.

Russia started what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine in late February.

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