A Ukrainian drone strike on a military airbase in southern Russia killed three Russian service members over the holiday weekend.
“If the Russians thought that the war would not touch them in the deep rear, they were sorely mistaken,” Ukrainian air defense spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said of the attack, according to a Bloomberg report.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday that the three Russian service members died as a result of falling debris after its forces shot down the Ukrainian drones, while no aircraft were damaged in the strike.
The holiday attack on the Engels airbase, which is in Russia’s Saratov region and situated more than 300 miles from the country’s border with Ukraine, is the second attack the airbase has seen in less than a year. month. On December 5, a similar attack on the base damaged two Tu-95 bombers. Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility for either attack.
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The reported attack comes as the Ukrainian military claimed on Sunday that Russia fired more than 40 missiles at Ukrainian cities on Christmas Day, but did not release any reports on damage or casualties in the attack.
The exchange between the two countries comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a high-profile trip to the US to meet President Biden and address a joint meeting of Congress last week, when he made an appeal to American and Western allies to continue to support their country’s policy. he defense against the military invasion of Russia.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that Moscow was open to peace talks but accused Ukraine and the West of not engaging with the Kremlin.
“We are ready to negotiate with everyone involved on acceptable solutions, but that depends on them, it is not us who refuse to negotiate, it is them,” Putin said during an interview on Russian state television.
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However, the US and Ukraine have continued to deny that Russia has shown openness to talks, with Zelenskyy’s adviser Mykhailo Podolyak arguing on Sunday that Putin was trying to evade responsibility for the deaths of Ukrainian citizens.
“Russia single-handedly attacked Ukraine and is killing citizens,” the adviser said. “Russia does not want negotiations, but tries to avoid responsibility.”
In a Christmas address to Ukrainians, Zelenskyy boasted that Ukrainian forces had continued to defeat Putin on the battlefield, but warned residents to be “prepared for any scenario” as the conflict drags on until 2023. .
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“Russia has lost everything it could this year… I know the darkness will not stop us from leading the occupiers to new defeats,” he said. “But we have to be prepared for any scenario.”