NEWS Drones strike oil tanks at airports inside Russia – governor

Drones strike oil tanks at airports inside Russia - governor
  • Kyiv region faces most urgent power outage
  • U.S. solicits executive help for Ukrainian energy assets
  • Moscow: 3 killed in Ukrainian drone attack on Russian airbase

Kyiv, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Drones struck an airport in Russia’s Kursk region and set fire to an oil storage tank, a governor said on Tuesday, a day after Russia accused Ukraine of deep-seated control of Russian territory. There have been daring drone strikes at two military airfields in the United States.

Roman Starovoyt, governor of the Kursk region on the border with Ukraine, said on the Telegram messaging app that there were no casualties in the attack and that the fire was “localized”. Reuters could not immediately verify the reports.

The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier that Ukrainian drones struck two air bases in Ryazan and Saratov in south-central Russia on Monday, killing three servicemen, wounding four and damaging two aircraft.

Ukraine has not directly claimed responsibility for any of the attacks. If it was behind them, Monday’s strike would be the deepest in Russia since Moscow invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The New York Times quoted a senior Ukrainian official as saying that the drones involved in Monday’s attack were launched from within Ukraine, and that at least one of the attacks was carried out with the help of special forces close to the base.

Images shared by Israeli satellite imaging company ImageSat International showed burn marks and objects near a Tu-22M aircraft at Dyagilevo air base.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said Monday’s attack was an act of terrorism aimed at disabling long-range aircraft and that the low-flying drone was shot down. The death was reported at the Ryazan base, 185 kilometers (115 miles) southeast of Moscow.

Saratov is at least 600 kilometers (370 miles) from the nearest Ukrainian territory. Russian commentators took to social media to suggest that if Ukraine could strike that far inside Russia, it would also be capable of striking Moscow.

Serhiy Zgurets, a Ukrainian military analyst, said the air base attacked on Monday was the only Russian facility that could provide full service for the bombers used to launch attacks on Ukraine.

“It’s too early to say what’s wrong here, but the ability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to penetrate deep into military targets on the territory of the Russian Federation is of great symbolic importance,” he wrote on the Espreso TV website.

There was no immediate comment from Kyiv or Moscow on the latest reports of the drone attack in Kursk.

New barrage

Russia responded to Monday’s attack with “massive strikes against military control systems” and other targets, hitting all 17 targets with high-precision air- and sea-based weapons, the defense ministry said.


The attack plunged parts of Ukraine back into freezing darkness with temperatures below zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), the latest to target critical infrastructure in weeks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at least four people were killed, adding that most of the roughly 70 missiles were shot down.

“In many areas, there will be emergency power outages,” he said in a video address late Monday. “We will do everything we can to restore stability.”

Russia has been regularly attacking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure since early October, allegedly to cripple its military. Ukraine says such attacks against civilians constitute war crimes. Russia denies this.

The United States said it would hold a virtual meeting with oil and gas executives on Thursday to discuss how to support Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Russia’s “current strategy of trying to bring the Ukrainian people to surrender” would fail.

“The point is, unless Russia shows that it’s interested in meaningful diplomacy, it’s going nowhere. If it does, we’ll be the first to be ready to help,” he said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Committee in Washington.

Russia said it was launching a “special military operation” in Ukraine to root out nationalists and protect the Russian-speaking community. Ukraine and its allies have accused Russia of waging an unprovoked war to seize territory.

Battle of Donetsk

Ukraine’s military said on Tuesday that its forces had repelled Russian attacks on or around seven settlements in the Donetsk region, including the town of Bakhmut, in the past 24 hours.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said on YouTube that Russian soldiers were trying to cut off the roads to Bakhmut from the west and northwest.

Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told Ukrainian television late Monday that there were only about 12,000 people left in Bakhmut, up from 80,000 before the war, and without electricity or gas.

In Ukraine’s southern Zaporozhye region, a Russian missile attack on Monday killed at least two people and destroyed several homes, an official in the presidential office said.

Reuters video showed two bodies next to a damaged car in the village of Novosofiivka, about 25 kilometers (16 miles) east of the city of Zaporozhye.

“Both my neighbors were killed,” said 62-year-old Olha Troshyna. “They stood by the car … sending off their son and daughter-in-law.”

Ukraine’s air force said it shot down more than 60 of more than 70 missiles launched by Russia on Monday.

Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Stephen Coates; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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