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Russia unleashes missiles across Ukraine, drones hit bases deep inside Russian territory

Ukraine said Russia destroyed homes in the southeast and knocked out power in many areas with a new volley of missiles on Monday, while Moscow said Ukrainian drones had attacked two air bases deep inside Russia hundreds of miles from front lines.

December 6, 2022
By Pavel Polityuk
6 December 2022

By Pavel Polityuk

KYIV, Dec 5 (Reuters) – Ukraine said Russia destroyed
homes in the southeast and knocked out power in many areas with
a new volley of missiles on Monday, while Moscow said Ukrainian
drones had attacked two air bases deep inside Russia hundreds of
miles from front lines.

A new missile barrage had been anticipated in Ukraine for
days and it took place just as emergency blackouts were due to
end, with previous damage repaired. The strikes plunged parts of
Ukraine back into freezing darkness with temperatures now firmly
below zero Celsius (32 Fahrenheit).

At least four people were killed in the Russian missile
attacks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, adding
that most of some 70 missiles were shot down. Energy workers had
already begun work on restoring power supplies, he said.

Russia’s defence ministry said Ukrainian drones attacked two
air bases at Ryazan and Saratov in south-central Russia, killing
three servicemen and wounding four, with two aircraft damaged by
pieces of the drones when they were shot down.

Ukraine did not directly claim responsibility for the
attacks. If it was behind them, they would be the deepest
strikes inside the Russian heartland since Moscow invaded
Ukraine on Feb. 24.

One of the targets, the Engels air base near the city of
Saratov, around 730 km (450 miles) southeast of Moscow, houses
bomber planes belonging to Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.

“The Kyiv regime, in order to disable Russian long-range
aircraft, made attempts to strike with Soviet-made unmanned jet
aerial vehicles at the military airfields Dyagilevo, in the
Ryazan region, and Engels, in the Saratov region,” the Russian
defence ministry said.

It said the drones, flying at low altitude, were intercepted
by air defences and shot down. The deaths were reported on the
Ryazan base, 185 km (115 miles) southeast of Moscow.

The Russian defence ministry called the drone strikes a
terrorist act aimed at disrupting its long-range aviation.

Despite that, it said, Russia responded with a “massive
strike on the military control system and related objects of the
defences complex, communication centres, energy and military
units of Ukraine with high-precision air- and sea-based weapons”
in which it said all 17 designated targets were hit.

Ukraine’s air force said it downed over 60 of more than 70
missiles fired by Russia on Monday – the latest in weeks of
attacks targeting its critical infrastructure that have cut off
power, heat and water to many parts of the country.

“Our guys are awesome,” Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian
presidential staff, wrote on Telegram.

Kyiv’s forces have also demonstrated an increasing ability
to hit strategic Russian targets far beyond the 1,100 km-long
frontline in south and eastern Ukraine.

Saratov is at least 600 km from the nearest Ukrainian
territory. Russian commentators said on social media that if
Ukraine could strike that far inside Russia, it might also be
capable of hitting Moscow.

Previous mysterious blasts damaged arms stores and fuel
depots in regions near Ukraine and knocked out at least seven
warplanes in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia
from Ukraine in 2014.

President Vladimir Putin drove a Mercedes across the bridge
linking southern Russia to Crimea on Monday, less than two
months since that, too, was hit by an explosion.

Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for any of the blasts,
saying only that they were “karma” for Russia’s invasion.

“If something is launched into other countries’ air space,
sooner or later unknown flying objects will return to (their)
departure point,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo
Podolyak tweeted, tongue in cheek, on Monday.

MISSILE FRAGMENTS HIT MOLDOVA

Moscow has been hitting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure
roughly weekly since early October as it has been forced to
retreat on some battlefronts.

This time, police in Moldova were reported to have found
missile fragments on its soil near the border with Ukraine.

In the Zaporizhzhia region, at least two people were killed
and several houses destroyed, the deputy head of the
presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said.

Missiles also hit energy facilities in the regions of Kyiv
and Vinnytsia in central Ukraine, Odesa in the south and Sumy in
the north, officials said.

Forty percent of the Kyiv region had no electricity,
regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba said, praising the work of
Ukrainian air defences.

Ukraine had only just returned to scheduled power outages
from Monday rather than the emergency blackouts it has suffered
since widespread Russian strikes on Nov. 23, the worst of the
attacks on energy infrastructure that began in early October.

Russia has said the barrages are designed to degrade
Ukraine’s military. Ukraine says they are clearly aimed at
civilians and thus constitute a war crime.

WESTERN PRICE CAP ON RUSSIAN OIL

A $60 per barrel price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil
took effect on Monday, the latest Western measure to punish
Moscow over its invasion. Russia is the world’s second-largest
oil exporter.

The agreement allows Russian oil to be shipped to
third-party countries using tankers from G7 and European Union
member states, insurance companies and credit institutions, only
if the cargo is bought at or below the $60 per barrel cap.

Moscow has said it will not abide by the measure even if it
has to cut production. Ukraine wants the cap set lower:
Zelenskiy said $60 was too high to deter Russia’s assault.

A Russian oil blend was selling for around $79 a barrel in
Asian markets on Monday – almost a third higher than the price
cap, according to Refinitiv data and estimates from industry
sources.

(Reporting by Nick Starkov and Reuters bureaus; Writing by
Philippa Fletcher and Mark Heinrich; Editing by Peter Graff and
Angus MacSwan)

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