Ukrainian military attack air base on Russian soil over bank holiday weekend, killing three: report

Three Russian military personnel were killed in a Ukrainian drone attack on a military airfield in southern Russia over the holiday weekend.

“If the Russians thought the war wouldn’t touch them deep down, they were dead wrong,” Ukraine’s air defense spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said of the attack, according to a Bloomberg report.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Monday that the three Russian soldiers died as a result of falling debris after its forces shot down the Ukrainian drones, while no plane was damaged in the attack.

The holiday attack on Engels Air Force Base, located in Russia’s Saratov Region and over 300 miles from the country’s border with Ukraine, is the second attack the air base has seen in less than a month. On Dec. On February 5, a similar attack on the base damaged two Tu-95 bombers. Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility for either attack.

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Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine is now in its tenth month.

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is now in its tenth month.
(Contributor/Getty Images)

The reported attack comes as Ukraine’s military on Sunday claimed Russia fired over 40 rockets at Ukrainian cities on Christmas Day, but released no reports of damage or casualties in the attack.

The exchange between the two countries comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a high-profile trip to the US last week to meet with President Biden and speak at a joint session of Congress, as he addressed Americans and Western allies appealed to continue supporting his country’s defense against the military invasion of Russia.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday claimed Moscow was open to peace talks but accused Ukraine and the West of not involving the Kremlin.

“We are ready to negotiate acceptable solutions with all parties involved, but that’s up to them – it’s not us who refuse to negotiate, it’s them,” Putin said in an interview on Russian state television.

A Ukrainian firefighter and a soldier inspect a damaged house after a Russian drone strike in the village of Stari Bezradychi, Kyiv region, Ukraine, Monday, 11 19, 2022.

A Ukrainian firefighter and a soldier inspect a damaged house after a Russian drone strike in the village of Stari Bezradychi, Kyiv region, Ukraine, Monday, 11 19, 2022.
(AP Photo/Felipe Dan)

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However, the US and Ukraine continue to deny that Russia has shown any openness to talks, with Zelenskyi adviser Mykhailo Podolyak arguing on Sunday that Putin is trying to evade responsibility for the deaths of Ukraine’s citizens.

“Russia single-handedly attacked Ukraine and is killing citizens,” the adviser said. “Russia does not want negotiations, but is trying to avoid responsibility.”

In a Christmas address to Ukrainians, Zelenskyy boasted that Ukrainian forces had continued to inflict defeats on Putin on the battlefield, but warned residents to be “prepared for any scenario” as the conflict drags on into 2023.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives during a joint session of Congress at the US Capitol on Dec. 21, 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives during a joint session of Congress at the US Capitol on Dec. 21, 2022.
(Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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“Russia lost everything it could this year. … I know the darkness will not prevent us from leading the occupiers to new defeats,” he said. “But we have to be prepared for every scenario.”

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