A fire was burning early Tuesday morning at an airport in Russia’s southern region of kursknear the border with Ukraine, according to the regional governor, who blamed a drone attack.
The fire came a day after Moscow blamed kyiv for drone strikes on two airbases deep inside Russia and launched another round of missile attacks on Ukrainian soil.
“As a result of a drone strike, a crude oil reservoir caught fire in the Kursk airport area. The fire is being contained. All emergency services work on the spot,” Kursk Governor Roman Starovoy said in a Telegram post.
Kursk airport was closed to civil aviation on February 24, the day of the start of the Russian military campaign in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian authorities have not officially confirmed responsibility for the attacks.
Unprecedented events in Russia threatened a major escalation of the war that began more than eight months ago. One of the airfields hit hosts bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
The events showed the vulnerability of some of Russia’s most strategic military hotspots and raised questions about the effectiveness of its air defenses if drones were able to get that close.
Russia’s Defense Ministry did not say where the drones had come from, although Russian military bloggers said they were likely launched by Ukrainian scouts. According to Russian authorities, the drones were intercepted, but the remnants fell and exploded at the airfields.
The Russian ministry said it shot down two Ukrainian drones. Three Russian servicemen were killed, four others were injured by shrapnel and two planes suffered minor damage, the ministry added.
The attacks on the Engels base in the Saratov region along the Volga River and the Dyagilevo base in the Ryazan region of western Russia were part of Ukrainian efforts to undermine the Russian long-range bomber force. , according to the Ministry.
The Engels base, located more than 600 kilometers (370 miles) east of the Ukrainian border, hosts Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic bombers that have been involved in strikes against Ukraine. The Dyagilevo airbase, where tankers are used to refuel other planes in the air, is about 500 kilometers (more than 300 miles) northeast of the Ukrainian border.
Last August, Ukraine carried out a series of attacks against military bases in Crimea, including the Saki airfield.
(With information from AP and EFE)
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