KYIV: A drone attack on an airfield in Russia’s Kursk region set fire to an oil storage tank, a governor said on Tuesday, a day after Russia accused Ukraine of audacious drone attacks on two military airfields deep inside Russian territory.
Roman Starovoyt, the governor of the Kursk region bordering Ukraine, said on the Telegram messaging app there were no casualties from the attack and the fire was “localised.”
Reuters was not able to immediately verify the reports.
Russia’s defence ministry said earlier Ukrainian drones attacked two air bases at Ryazan and Saratov in south-central Russia on Monday, killing three servicemen and wounding four – and damaging two aircraft.
Ukraine did not directly claim responsibility for any of the attacks.
If it was behind them, Monday’s strikes would be the deepest inside Russia since Moscow invaded Ukraine on Feb 24.
The New York Times, citing a senior Ukrainian official, said the drones involved in Monday’s attacks were launched from Ukrainian territory, and at least one of the strikes was made with the help of special forces close to the base.
Israeli satellite imaging company ImageSat International shared images it said showed burn marks and objects near a Tu-22M aircraft at the Dyagilevo airbase.
Russia’s defence ministry said Monday’s attacks were acts of terrorism intended to disable long-range aircraft, and the low-flying drones were shot down.
The deaths were reported on the Ryazan base, 185km southeast of Moscow.
Saratov is at least 600km from the nearest Ukrainian territory.
Russian commentators said on social media that if Ukraine could strike that far inside Russia, it might also be capable of hitting Moscow.
Ukrainian military analyst Serhiy Zgurets said the air force bases hit on Monday were the only facilities in Russia that could fully service bombers used to launch attacks on Ukraine.
“It is still too early to say what is at issue here, but the ability of the armed forces of Ukraine to reach military targets deep in the territory of the Russian Federation has a very symbolic and important meaning,” he wrote on the Espreso TV website.
There was no immediate comment from Kyiv or Moscow on the latest report of a drone attack in Kursk.