Ukraine attempts to obstruct Russian strikes on civilian infrastructure

The news caused surprise in military circles. On Monday December 5, two Russian airbases, located about 500 and 600 kilometers from Ukraine, have been the target of attacksdamaging at least two heavy bombers. “The kyiv regime, in order to disable Russian long-range aircraft, attempted Soviet-made drone strikes against the military airfields of Diagilyevo, in the Ryazan region, and Engels, in the Saratov region », recognized the Russian Ministry of Defense in a press release published Monday evening, deploring the death of three soldiers. Another Russian military airfield, located in Kursk, was also attacked on Tuesday, December 6, without causing casualties.

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Even if they were not claimed by kyiv, these attacks are a first since the entry of Vladimir Putin’s troops on Ukrainian territory, almost ten months ago. If they regularly struck targets located on the other side of their border, in particular in the region of Belgorod, the forces of kyiv had never reached objectives located so far in Russian territory. By comparison, the city of Moscow is less than 500 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, within range of the projectiles that hit Russian military airfields on Monday.

According to various sources, these attacks could have been carried out by Tupolev Tu-141, reconnaissance drones used by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, of which Ukraine would have kept several units after its independence. With a theoretical range of 1,000 kilometres, these machines, 150 of which were manufactured by the USSR, could have been equipped by kyiv with a GPS guidance system and an explosive charge, in order to transform them into kamikaze drones. Others evoke the hypothesis of a projectile manufactured by Ukroboronprom, the largest Ukrainian military conglomerate. In October, the manufacturer announced that it had completed the development of a drone with a range of 1,000 kilometers and equipped with a 75 kg warhead.

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Ukraine plunged into darkness and cold

Whatever the projectile used, these attacks show the will of the Ukrainian authorities to hinder the strikes carried out since the beginning of the autumn by Moscow on the civil infrastructures of the country. The effects of these bombardments, devastating for the water or electricity supply networks, threaten to plunge Ukraine into darkness and cold. “Ukraine is adopting more active measures to reduce and prevent Russian missile strikes on its citizens and infrastructure. It’s a logical sequence.”says retired Australian Major General Mick Ryan, in a published analysis on Twitter Monday.

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