Three lifeless in second assault on Engels base deep in Russia

DEC 26 (Reuters) – Three Russian military personnel were killed early Monday by falling debris from a Ukrainian drone that was shot down while attacking a base in Russia’s Saratov region, Russian news outlets reported, citing the Defense Ministry.

It was the second attack on the base this month.

“A Ukrainian UAV was shot down at low altitude as it approached the Engels military airfield in the Saratov region,” news agencies reported.

“As a result of the crash of the wreckage of the drone, three Russian servicemen from the technical staff who were at the airfield were mortally wounded.”

The base near the city of Saratov, about 730 km (450 miles) southeast of Moscow and hundreds of kilometers from the front lines in Ukraine, was hit by Ukrainian drone strikes on two Russian air bases on December 5 the day.

The twin attacks severely damaged Russia’s reputation and raised questions about why its defenses had failed, analysts said as attention turned to the use of drones in the war between neighbors.

Ukraine has never publicly claimed attacks in Russia, but has said such incidents are “karma” for Russia’s invasion.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the aviation equipment was not damaged, but a number of planes were destroyed, according to unofficial Russian and Ukrainian social media reports.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports.

Roman Busargin, the governor of the Saratov region, said earlier Monday that civilian infrastructure was not damaged in the incident.

“There is absolutely no threat to residents… No civilian infrastructure was damaged,” Busargin said.

Reporting in Melbourne by Lidia Kelly; Edited by Christopher Cushing and Michael Perry

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