Explosions at two Russian airbases far from the frontlines have been reported, with Kyiv appearing to launch a pre-emptive strike against Moscow's bombers used in an effort to cripple the Ukrainian electrical grid. The Russian defence ministry confirmed the targeted attacks on Monday and linked them to Ukraine, claiming two warplanes had been damaged.
Kyiv's action was seen as a response to the Kremlin seeking to cause a humanitarian disaster in Ukraine by winter, and signified an unprecedented operation deep inside Russian territory.
Material from Russian media reports and social media sites indicate an explosion took place early Monday at the Engels-2 airbase in Saratov, which is equipped with Tu-95 bombers participating in cruise missile strikes in Ukraine.
At the Dyagilevo military airbase near Ryazan, another explosion resulted in three fatalities and five injured individuals. As reported by Russian state media, this airbase is located less than 150 miles from the capital Moscow and hosts Tu-95 long-range bombers.
Subsequently, Russia proceeded with the long-anticipated mass strike against Ukraine involving air- and sea-launched missiles from the Black and Caspian Seas. Ukraine was reported to have intercepted and shot down 60 of a total of 70 missiles, a record in the effectiveness of its air defence systems. The Russian defence ministry confirmed to have struck 17 targets.