KIEV (Kiev) (Reuters) – A new rocket attack by Russian forces on Thursday caused widespread power outages across Ukraine. Russia, meanwhile, announced Ukrainian drone strikes on two airbases hundreds of kilometers from the front.
A new missile attack on Ukraine had been expected for several days, but it came just as the damage to infrastructure had been repaired and the emergency blackout was about to end. The attack caused power outages in some areas as temperatures dropped below freezing.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said at least four people were killed in the Russian rocket attacks. Ukraine’s military said it shot down more than 60 of the more than 70 missiles fired by Russia on Saturday.
Energy industry officials said they are already working to restore electricity supplies.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday that three Ukrainian servicemen were killed in two Ukrainian drone strikes on two airbases in the south-central provinces of Ryazan and Saratov. Four other people were injured and two aircraft suffered minor damage.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had intercepted and shot down a low-flying drone, denouncing it as a terrorist act aimed at interfering with long-haul flights.
The attack has not been directly confirmed by Ukraine, but if so, it would be the closest attack to deep Russia since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Engels Air Base in Saratov Oblast, located about 730 kilometers southeast of Moscow, is one of two strategic bomber bases hosting Russia’s airborne nuclear forces.
The Ukrainian military has demonstrated an increased ability to strike strategic Russian targets well beyond its 1,100-kilometer front line in the south and east of the country.
Saratov is at least 600 kilometers from the nearest Ukrainian border. Russian officials say if Ukraine can strike so deep inside Russia, it can attack Moscow.
The unexplained explosions have so far downed at least seven fighter jets in Russian arms depots and bunkers near Ukraine, as well as in Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
President Putin drove over the Crimean Bridge, which connects the Crimean peninsula with mainland Russia. The bridge, which was used as a logistics artery and supply route for Russian forces in southern Ukraine, also exploded in October.
Ukraine has not confirmed that any of the explosions were the result of its own attacks, saying only that it was a “punishment” by Russia.
“If something is launched into the airspace of another country, the unidentified flying object will sooner or later return to its starting point,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Podlyak wrote on Twitter.
Since early October, when Russia was forced to withdraw on multiple fronts, it has begun attacking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure almost every week.
Police in Moldova, which borders Ukraine, said on Friday they had found fragments of a missile near the Ukrainian border.
At least two people were killed and three others, including a child, were injured when missiles hit homes in the southeastern province of Zaporozhye on Monday.
The missiles also hit energy facilities in Kiev province to the north and Odessa province to the south. Kyiv governor Kuleva said the attack cut power to 40 percent of the province.
Starting today, the Group of Seven (G7) countries and the European Union (EU) have imposed a cap of $60 a barrel on the price of Russian crude oil.
Russia has said it will not comply with the measure even if it is forced to cut production. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has criticized the measures as insufficient and ineffective in deterring war.
According to Refinitiv data and industry estimates, the East Siberian Pacific (ESPO) pipeline to Kozmino in the Russian Far East reached around $79 a barrel in the Asian market on Thursday, while G7 and EU markets reached a price of about $79 a barrel. which was trading about 30% above the $60 price limit imposed by .