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Putin Is Freaked Out: Ukraine Strikes Base Deep Inside of Russia

Russian TOS-1 firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Russian TOS-1 firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Western countries have long refused to provide some of the most advanced missile systems to Ukraine over concerns of possible strikes launched in Russian territories – but Ukraine is finding ways to strike Russian positions outside of Ukraine without the use of missiles.

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In early December, Ukrainian forces struck two Russian bases hundreds of miles from the border using modified Soviet-era drones.

In the early hours of Monday morning, a Ukrainian drone is understood to have struck one of the same Russian bases again, deep inside Russia, killing three Russian servicemen in the process.

According to a statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Engels airbase – home to the Tu-95 and Tu-60 nuclear-capable bombers which have been used to launch missile strikes in Ukraine – was struck by a Ukrainian drone. The Engels airbase has been used repeatedly by Russian forces to conduct air strikes in Ukraine.

Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed that its air defenses had shot down the Ukrainian drone at a low altitude at 01:35 local time.

While no damage was reported to have been inflicted on the Russian military aircraft, and Moscow insists that the drone was shot down, the attack represents a turning point in the conflict.

Not only does Ukraine have the ability to send drones, undetected, 600km from the Ukrainian border, but these strikes can be coordinated even without the use of advanced, long-range missile systems.  

Watch The Strike Take Place

Security camera footage from the base has already emerged online, showing a large explosion occurring in the distance.

The light from the explosions is significant enough to suggest a large blast occurred, though that does not mean Moscow’s story is wrong. The footage could show a Ukrainian attack drone being taken down by a Russian air defense system.

Did Ukraine Take Credit?

Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat did not immediately say that the Ukrainian military was responsible for the strikes but did suggest that they occurred as a “consequence” of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

“If the Russians thought that the war would not affect anyone in the deep rear (of Russia) or anywhere else, they were deeply mistaken,” Ihnat said. “Therefore, as we see, such things are happening more and more often, and let’s hope that this will only benefit Ukraine.”

Ukraine is now bracing for a potential retaliatory strike, according to a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Security and Defense Forces.

“This reminds of the events of December 5, so there may be some deja vu, some repetition of this situation, after which [the Russians] launched a massive missile strike,” a spokesperson said. “Therefore, we should be prepared for this, take it into account in our plans and do not forget to proceed to the shelter.”

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Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.