Third Russian airfield set ablaze by drone strike

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Third Russian airfield set ablaze by drone strike

KYIV: A third Russian airfield was set ablaze by a drone strike a day after Ukraine demonstrated an apparent new ability to penetrate hundreds of kilometres into Russian airspace with attacks on two air bases.

After the latest strike on Tuesday December 6, officials in the Russian city of Kursk, about 90 km north of the Ukraine border, released pictures of black smoke above an airfield. The governor said an oil storage tank had gone up in flames but there were no casualties.

On Monday, Russia said it had been hit hundreds of kilometres from Ukraine by what it said were Soviet-era drones - at Engels Air Base, home to Russia's strategic bomber fleet, and in Ryazan, a few hours' drive from Moscow.

Ukraine did not claim any responsibility for the strikes, but nonetheless celebrated them.

Late on Tuesday, sirens sounded on the territory of the airfield in Engels, Russian state-owned news agencies reported, citing Yevgeny Shpolsky, first deputy of the Engels district administration.

In Washington, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said his country's determination to provide Ukraine with the equipment it needs to defend itself, while saying it had neither encouraged nor allowed the Ukrainians to strike inside Russia.

Three service members were killed in the attack at Ryazan, Russia's defence ministry said. Although the attacks struck military targets, it characterised them as terrorism and said the aim was to disable its long-range aircraft.

Ukraine has never publicly acknowledged its responsibility for attacks inside Russia. Defence Minister Oleskiy Reznikov was asked about the strikes and blaming carelessness with cigarettes. Very often Russians smoke in places where it is forbidden to smoke, he said.

The damage to the warplanes has caused grumbling among Russian military bloggers, whose social media posts can provide a window into the mood in Russia during the war.