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Russia. Reports of a fire at the military airport in Kursk. It’s a drone strike, authorities say

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The authorities of the Kursk region reported an unmanned aerial vehicle attack on the Russian military airport in Kursk, about 100 kilometers from the Ukrainian border. According to the governor of the region, no dead or injured were reported, Ukrainian media reported. A spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force Command said that Russia still has plenty of planes to attack Ukraine.

“There is a fire at the military airport in Kursk, the authorities are talking about an unmanned aerial vehicle attack,” the Ukrainian Pravda portal wrote, citing Russian media reports.

Kursk is located about 100 kilometers from the Ukrainian-Russian border.

According to the governor of the Kursk region, Roman Starovoit, “as a result of the unmanned aerial vehicle attack, an oil tank caught fire. No one was hurt. The fire is being localized,” the official said.

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Shelling of two Russian air bases

The day before Russia confirmed two drone attacks on the airports near Ryazan and near Engels, which it accused Ukraine.

Monday’s explosions at an air base outside the city of Engels and at Diaghilevo airfield near Ryazan took place deeper inside Russia than previous such events since its invasion of Ukraine began, the British Defense Ministry noted in its daily analysis on Tuesday.

According to official information, three military personnel were killed in the strikes (four people were injured), and two planes were “slightly damaged”. Ukraine has not officially confirmed its involvement in the attacks.

Ryazan is about 200 kilometers southeast of Moscow. The air base in the city of Engels is about 800 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, while the sites of both explosions are about 650 kilometers apart.

“The causes of the explosions have not been confirmed. However, if Russia assesses that these were deliberate attacks, it is likely to consider them one of the most strategically significant failures in protecting forces since its invasion of Ukraine. These sites are located much deeper inside Russia than (sites of) previous similar explosions: Engels is located (at a distance) of more than 600 km from Ukrainian-controlled territory.

Tu-95 taking off from the air base near the city of Engels (archive photo)Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters / Forum

It was clarified that Engels is the main operating base of the Russian long-range aviation in western Russia and is the base of 30 heavy bombers. These aircraft are part of Russia’s nuclear deterrent system and have often been used to launch conventional missiles at Ukraine. It was pointed out that in response the bombers would probably be temporarily transferred to airfields scattered around the country. “The Russian chain of command will likely seek to identify the Russian officers found responsible for allowing the incident and to impose severe sanctions on them,” the UK Department of Defense added.

Massive missile attack on Ukraine

On Monday, after the strikes near Ryazan and Engels, Russia launched another massive missile attack on Ukraine. For attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, the aggressor uses, among others, strategic aviation. Rockets (Kalibr) are also launched from ships in the Black Sea.

The spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force Command, Yuri Ihnat, said in the evening that Russia “still has enough planes to carry out further attacks.”

– Unfortunately, they have a lot of planes. Not only Tu-95, but also Tu-160. One Tu-95 aircraft can carry eight missiles, and Russia has many more. We are talking about dozens, so to say that they cannot fire, you cannot – said Ihnat. He also assessed that the attacks on airports are certainly a “disturbing signal” for the Russians.

Frustration among Russian commentators

In a recent analysis by the US Institute for the Study of War, Monday’s drone attacks on airfields near Ryazan and Engels caused frustration among Russian commentators and bloggers. In the opinion of some insiders, these incidents threaten Russia’s credibility as a nuclear power.

READ MORE: ISW: Russians deported Ukrainian children under the pretext of “special medical care”

Military bloggers do not focus their opinions on the “success” of the latest missile attack on Ukraine on Monday, but rather on criticism of the authorities’ failure to prevent explosions at airports several hundred kilometers inland. It is emphasized that Ukrainian sabotage groups must be active on Russian territory or capable of attacking remote targets in a neighboring country, analysts from an American think tank reported.

The fact that even the Tu-95 strategic bomber base was attacked with drones, according to some commentators supporting the Kremlin’s policy, undermines Russia’s credibility as a nuclear power, because the fleet of machines capable of carrying multiple nuclear loads was hit, according to the ISW analysis.

Main photo source: GOOGLE MAPS

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