Russia blitzes Kyiv after blaming drone attack on Ukraine

Ukraine: Russia 'absolutely getting crushed' says Hodges

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Moscow sources say Ukrainian drones killed three people and damaged two TU-95 long-range strategic bombers yesterday.

A Russian ministry statement said the airfield attacks were from Sovietmade, low-flying Ukrainian drones.

They targeted Russian long-range warplanes at two airbases – Dyagilevo in Ryazan region and Engels in Saratov region – both hundreds of miles from Ukraine.

Three Russian military personnel died and four were wounded.

The ministry statement added: “Air defences intercepted these drones. As a result of the crash and explosion of fragments of the drones there was some slight fuselage damage on two planes.”

Ukraine has yet to comment officially but presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak hinted Ukraine was behind the explosions, writing: “If something is launched into [an] other country’s airspace, sooner or later unknown flying objects will return to departure point.”

Satellite images of Engels air base published last week showed around two DOZENTU-95s and Tu-160s. TU-95 bombers have been used to launch cruise missiles at Ukraine.

Last night Ukraine said it had shot down 60 of over 70 missiles launched by Russia across the country, including capital Kyiv and Odesa.

The Russian blitz came just hours after the airfield attacks and are the eighth missile barrage on Ukraine in as many weeks. Residents in Kyiv took shelter in the underground stations of the Metro as the missiles rained down.

The attacks also left Odesa without running water and with fears of further blackouts.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to boost Russian morale, Vladimir Putin was pictured driving across the Crimean Bridge two months after it was severely damaged in an attack blamed on Ukraine.

In a short film clip, the Russian leader – who has been dogged by rumours of serious health problems – appears nervous as he is seen tightly gripping the wheel of a Mercedes.

Putin was humiliated in October when pictures showed the massive structure engulfed by an explosion from a suspected truck bomb. He had ordered the 11-mile bridge, Europe’s longest, to be built across the Kerch Strait to link Russia and Crimea in 2014, months after Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine.

It cost £3.2billion and is a symbol of Russia’s claims on Ukraine.

The Kremlin has declared Crimea belongs to Russia and has vowed to defend it. But October’s attack seemed to show how Ukraine was able to make significant strikes on Russia, and Kyiv has reclaimed Kharkiv and Kherson.

Many Ukrainians have also vowed to push Russia out of Crimea.

The Kremlin said engineers had been working around the clock to repair the road and rail crossing.

In the film clip, Putin is also overheard saying that further repairs are needed on the left side of the bridge. The crossing was badly damaged, and three people were killed in the explosion.

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