MOSCOW, Russia — The Russian defense ministry said Ukrainian drone attacks caused explosions at two airfields in the Saratov and Ryazan regions on Monday, leaving three dead.
On Monday morning, “the Kyiv regime attempted to strike the Dyagilevo airfield in the Ryazan region, and the Engels airfield in the Saratov region, with Soviet-made drones,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that three soldiers had been killed.
The drones aiming to “disrupt Russian long-range aircraft” were intercepted, the ministry said, but debris fell and exploded on the airfields.
Four other soldiers were wounded and taken to medical facilities.
Two planes were slightly damaged, according to the statement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was briefed about the incidents, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier on Monday.
Explosions also reported at the Dyagilevo military airfield in Ryazan, Russia.
Some of Russia’s strategic bombers are currently there.
Looks like Ukraine struck 2 air bases deep in Russia today.
Engels air base in Saratov was also hit.
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) December 5, 2022
“From all relevant services, the president regularly receives information about everything that happens,” Peskov added, declining to provide further details.
In the same statement, the Russian defense ministry said it carried out a “massive attack on Ukrainian military command systems and related defense, communications, energy and military facilities” at around 1200 GMT.
“All 17 targets were hit,” the ministry said.
The missile barrage, which Ukrainian authorities have been anticipating for days, was the latest round of punishment by Russia, as it sought to disable Ukraine’s energy supplies and infrastructure as winter approaches — part of a new strategy in its nine-month war.
The country’s electricity provider, Ukrenergo, lashed out at Russia over “the eighth massive missile attack by a terrorist country,” saying its facilities had been hit, triggering blackouts. It urged residents to stay in shelters as its crews tried to repair the damage.
In the capital of Kyiv, scores of people quickly congregated in the central Zoloti Vorota metro station after the warnings, and many checked their phones for updates. There were no immediate signs of whether the city or the surrounding region was hit.
Air raid sirens sounded across the country. Ukrainian media reported explosions in several parts of the country south of Kyiv, including Cherkasy, Kryvyi Rih and Odesa, where the water company said power was out to pumping stations, leaving the city without water.