Russia Fires More Missiles After Claiming Ukraine Hit Air Base

Putin visits Crimea bridge
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 5, 2022 7:00 PM CST
Russia Fires More Missiles After Claiming Ukraine Hit Air Base
In this photo provided by the Zaporizhzhia region military administration, a damaged building and a car are seen after a Russian strike, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022.   (Zaporizhzhia region military administration via AP)

Ukrainian drones struck two air bases deep inside Russian territory, the Kremlin said Monday, shortly before Russian forces unleashed a massive missile barrage in Ukraine that struck homes and buildings and killed civilians. The unprecedented attack in Russia threatened a major escalation of the nine-month war because it hit an airfield housing bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons, the AP reports. Vladimir Putin has threatened to use all available means to defend his land, a remark many have interpreted to include nuclear weapons. The Russian Defense Ministry said it had shot down two Ukrainian drones. It said three Russian servicemen were killed and four others wounded by debris. The Engels base, located more than 370 miles east of the border with Ukraine, houses the Tu-95 and Tu-160 nuclear-capable strategic bombers that have been involved in launching strikes on Ukraine.

Russia has been launching almost weekly bombardments of Ukraine since another bold attack—the Oct. 8 truck bombing of a vital bridge linking its mainland to the Crimean Peninsula. On Monday, Putin tried to show his country could bounce back from that embarrassment by driving a car across the partially repaired bridge. Putin personally opened the 12-mile bridge in 2018 as part of an expensive effort to solidify his claim on Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014. In Monday's barrage, missiles knocked out basic services in several Ukrainian regions in Moscow's strategy to inflict more pain just as winter approaches. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said four people were killed in Monday's barrage.

Ukraine's air force claimed it shot down more than 60 of the 70 missiles, and Zelensky again showed defiance, praising workers who immediately tried to restore power. "Every downed Russian missile is concrete proof that terror can be defeated,” Zelensky said in his nightly address. Ukraine said early indications showed Russia fired 38 cruise missiles from carriers in the Caspian Sea and from the southern Rostov region. In addition, 22 Kalibr cruise missiles were fired from Russia's Black Sea fleet, and long-range bombers, fighter jets, and guided missiles were also involved, it said. Ukrainian media reported explosions south of Kyiv, in Cherkasy, Krivyi Rih, and Odesa. Officials said water, electricity, and central heating were cut to many parts of Odesa.

(Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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