Russian airbase comes under attack as Ukraine holds back escalation threat

“If the Russians thought that nobody at home would be affected by the war, then they were terribly mistaken,” said Colonel Ihnat. He added that explosions at Russian airfields complicated the bombing campaign against Ukraine and forced Moscow to relocate some of its planes, although no one claims the strikes seriously hampered the Russian barrage.

The Dec. 5 attacks were carried out using a Soviet-era jet-powered surveillance drone modified to act as an offensive weapon, according to Russian and Ukrainian officials, shortly after a Ukrainian state contractor said it had developed an attack drone with a range of over 600 miles – more than enough to reach Moscow.

US response to the 12.5 attacks were muted. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said, “We are not working to prevent Ukraine from developing its own capabilities.” Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, merely stated that the United States does not encourage or enable attacks on Russia.

Both the State and Defense Departments declined to comment on Monday’s reported drone strike.

The attacks have further infuriated Russian pro-war commentators, who have ranted about their country’s exposed vulnerabilities. They had already expressed their regret at the poor combat performance of the Russian military. Not only have Russian air defenses failed to stop at least some of the attacks, Ukrainian officials have said some were enabled by Ukrainian partisans or special forces operating behind the lines.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press on Monday that his government wanted to hold a “peace summit” by the end of February, hopefully brokered by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, but that Russia could only be invited to it initially prosecuted for war crimes. It was the latest in a series of claims by each country that it was open to peace talks – but only on terms unacceptable to the other.

Over the past three months, Russia has launched waves of missiles and drones into Ukraine, sending up to 100 at a time to overwhelm its air defenses. They have targeted civilian infrastructure such as the power grid and thermal power plants, leaving millions of people simultaneously cold and dark in dangerous winter weather.

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