On 10 January, the Russian Telegram channel Astra reported that two drones targeted Russia’s Saratov Oblast and were reportedly “shot down,” subsequently falling on the Engels-2 military airfield, with the extent of the impact of this attack remaining to be determined.
The Engels-2 air base is located more than 630 kilometers away from Ukraine, hosting the Soviet-era Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic bombers that regularly launch cruise missile attacks against Ukraine. The bombers launch the missiles from Russian airspace beyond the range of Ukrainian air defense systems.
On the morning of 10 January, Russia’s defense ministry claimed that the Russian air defenses destroyed a Ukrainian fixed-wing-type drone in the skies of Saratov Oblast.
“ASTRA found out the details of the night attack on the Saratov region, which was reported in the morning by the Russian Defense Ministry. The ministry said that a UAV was shot down over the region. According to ASTRA, there were 2 drones, they were shot down and fell on the territory of the military airfield Engels-2. The consequences are unknown,” Astra reported.
In an earlier attack on the Engels-2 air base on 26 December, three Russian troops were reportedly killed.
Earlier, after a months-long pause in mass air-based missile attacks, Russian forces resumed their assaults on Ukrainian cities on 29 December, primarily targeting civilian areas with various types of missiles, then repeated the attack on 2 January. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that in the two attacks, Russia targeted Ukraine with at least 500 missiles of various types and explosive drones, with 160 missiles were the air-based Kh-101/Kh-555/Kh-55 launched by Tu-95MS bombers, as per Ukraine’s Air Force.
Russia’s most recent massive air attack occurred on 8 January, as it launched 59 missiles and drones, with 24 Kh-101/Kh-555/Kh-55 missiles among those.
Since Ukraine does not have long-range missiles capable of reaching remote Russian air bases, Ukraine is ramping up production of long-range suicide drones.
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