December 26, 2022 Russia-Ukraine News

Three Russian servicemen were killed on Monday after a Ukrainian drone was shot down by air defenses as it approached a military airfield in Saratov oblast, deep in Russian territory, according to news agencies. Russian state press, citing the Defense Ministry.

CNN was unable to independently verify Russian reports that the drone was deliberately shot down and did not hit its target.

Here is what we know so far about the incident:

Where it happened: It took place in the western port city of Engels, about 500 miles (over 800 kilometers) southeast of Moscow, located on the Volga.

Why it matters: It is the second such attack attempt on the city, home to the Engels-2 military airfield, a strategic bomber airbase, this month.

The investigation is ongoing: Law enforcement is currently investigating the incident at the airfield, Saratov Oblast Governor Roman Busargin said on Monday. The comments, posted on his official Telegram channel, came after reports emerged of an explosion in the city. He added that there was “no emergency in the residential areas of the city” and that no civilian infrastructure had been damaged. He also offered his condolences to the families of the military, saying the government would provide assistance.

What Ukraine says: In comments on Monday, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat did not claim direct responsibility for the drone, but suggested the attack was a “consequence of what Russia is doing “. He added: “If the Russians thought that the war would not affect anyone in the rear (of Russia) or elsewhere, they were deeply mistaken. Therefore, as we see, such things are happening more and more often, and hopefully this will only benefit Ukraine.” Also on Monday, a spokesperson for the Southern Security and Defense Forces of Ukraine has warned of a possible Russian retaliatory strike, referring to a similar incident earlier this month in the same region.

What happened earlier this month: CCTV footage earlier this month appeared to show an explosion lighting up the sky in Engels. At the time, Governor Busargin also reassured residents that no civilian infrastructure had been damaged and that “information about incidents at military installations is verified by law enforcement.” He had acknowledged that information about “a loud bang and a burst in Engels in the early morning” was spreading on social networks and the media. Engels-2 airfield is nearly 6 kilometers (more than 3 miles) from where the CCTV footage was recorded in early December.


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