The Russian military reported on Monday that it shot down a Ukrainian drone approaching an airbase deep in Russia, the second time the airbase has been targeted this month, raising questions about the effectiveness of Russian air defenses if drones could fly so far into the country.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the incident occurred in the early hours of Monday and three servicemen were killed by debris at the Engels airbase which houses the Tu-95 and nuclear-capable strategic bombers. Tu-160 which were involved in launching strikes against Ukraine. .
Engels is located in Russia’s Saratov region on the Volga River, more than 600 kilometers (over 370 miles) east of the border with Ukraine.
No damage was inflicted on the Russian planes, the ministry said.
This is the second time that Engels has been targeted by Ukrainian drones; On December 5, unprecedented drone strikes on Engels and the Dyagilevo base in the Ryazan region of western Russia killed a total of three servicemen and injured four others. The airbase strikes were followed by a massive retaliatory missile barrage in Ukraine that struck homes and buildings and killed civilians.
In Ukraine, the night from Sunday to Monday turned out to be unusually calm. For the first time in weeks, Russian forces did not shell the Dnipropetrovsk region, which borders the partially occupied southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, its governor Valentyn Reznichenko reported on Telegram.
“This is the third quiet night in 5.5 months since the Russians started shelling” the areas around the town of Nikopol, Reznichenko wrote. Nikopol is located across the Dnieper from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is under the control of Russian forces.
Ukrainian-controlled areas in the neighboring Kherson region have been shelled 33 times in the past 24 hours, according to Ukrainian Kherson Governor Yaroslav Yanushevich. There were no casualties.
A deadly attack on the city of Kherson on Saturday, which was taken over by Kyiv forces last month, left dozens dead and injured.