A drone targeted a Russian airfield roughly 80 miles from the Ukrainian border Tuesday, the third long-range strike on Russian airfields in two days, according to The New York Times.
Russian officials said a drone struck an oil facility at the Kursk airfield, a day after explosions shook two military bases embedded hundreds of miles inside Russian territory, the NYT reported. While Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the strikes on Monday and Tuesday, it hinted Monday at the military’s ability to mount long-range attacks, according to The Wall Street Journal.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called a meeting of his national security council to discuss ways to ensure “internal security,” state media outlet TASS reported.
Ukraine lacks the long-range cruise and ballistic missiles it would need to reciprocate Russia’s attacks and faces pressure from the West to refrain from striking Russian territory, which Western officials see as carrying a higher risk of escalating the war, the WSJ reported. However, Ukraine has offset its weakness in long-range fires using drones and other weapons to hit targets inside Russia’s borders.
A fuel tanker exploded at an air base outside of Moscow, killing three, while explosions also racked the Engels military base in Russia’s Saratov region and damaged two of Russia’s nuclear-capable strategic bombers, the WSJ reported on Monday.
Ukrainian special forces guided at least one of the drones to the target in at least one of the strikes, a senior Ukrainian official told the NYT. In both attacks, the drones were launched from Ukraine, he added.
Russia launched a new volley of missile attacks across Ukraine after Monday’s drone strikes, triggering blackouts in the capital of Kyiv, according to the NYT.
While Ukrainian officials have not formally commented on this week’s strikes, in keeping with its usual approach toward strikes crossing into Russian territory, the strikes suggest expanded Ukrainian ability to hit long-range targets as well as gaps in Russia’s air defences, according to the WSJ.
“If something is launched into other countries’ airspace, sooner or later unknown flying objects will return to [sic] departure point,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in a statement, the WSJ reported.
When air bases in Russian-occupied Crimea fell under fire in August, Ukraine only hinted at the possible cause of the strikes until the country’s top military official acknowledged them in September, according to Reuters.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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