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Fire breaks out near Kursk airfield.
The drone attack on the Russian Kursk airfield has reportedly caused a an oil tank to catch fireImage: TASS/dpa/picture alliance

Ukraine updates: Fresh drone attack targets Russia airfield

December 6, 2022

Russia has accused Ukraine of targeting an airfield, for the second day in a row. Meanwhile, Kyiv is trying to restore power after Moscow's latest barrage. DW rounds up the latest.


A drone attack targeted on Tuesday a Russian airfield in the border Kursk region, setting fire to an oil storage tank, the region's governor announced.

Roman Starovoyt, the governor of the Kursk region bordering Ukraine, said on the Telegram messaging app that no casualties were reported following Tuesday's attack, adding that the fire was "localized."

The attack comes one day after attacks on two military airfields deep inside Russian territory which killed three soldiers and injured four others. Russia blamed Ukraine for the attack on the Dyagilevo airfield in the Ryazan region and the Engels airfield in the Saratov region.

Ukraine did not claim responsibility for the attacks, but if Russia's accusations are true, it would be the deepest Ukrainian attack inside Russia since the war started on February 24.

The Saratov region is at least 600 km (370 miles) from the nearest Ukrainian border. Many commentators and analysts have suggested that this would mean the Ukrainian forces are capable of hitting Moscow.

The Reuters news agency cited Ukrainian military analyst Serhiy Zgurets as saying that the Dyagilevo and Engels airfields struck on Monday were the only facilities capable of fully servicing bombers used to launch attacks on Ukraine.

The Engels airfield is home to several of Russia's large nuclear-capable strategic bombers the Tu-95 and Tu-160.

In this image taken from video provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, a pair of Tu-95 strategic bombers of the Russian air force are parked at an air base in Engels near the Volga River in Russia, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.
The Engles airfield is hundreds of miles from the border to Ukraine, and houses some of Russia's largest warplanesImage: Russian Defense Ministry/AP/picture alliance

The New York Times cited an unnamed senior Ukrainian official on Monday confirming that Kyiv hit two military bases inside Russia using unmanned drones.

Kyiv has not publicly acknowledged the strikes. The Ukrainian government has previously refused to immediately claim responsibility for attacks on Russia or the Russian-annexed Crimea.

Here are the other top headlines related to the war in Ukraine on Tuesday, December 6:

US 'not encouraging' Ukrainian strikes on Russia — State Department

The US State Department said that it is "not encouraging" Kyiv to strike outside of Ukrainian territory.

"We are not enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders; we are not encouraging Ukraine to strike beyond its borders," State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

"Everything we are doing -- everything the world is doing to support Ukraine -- is in support of Ukraine's independence," he said.

"We are providing Ukraine with what it needs to use on its sovereign territory -- on Ukrainian soil -- to take on Russian aggressors," Price insisted.

Russia said three people were killed and two aircraft damaged in attacks on Monday. Experts believe Ukraine penetrated Russian airspace with Soviet-era drones.

Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Zelenskyy visits eastern Donetsk to mark armed forces day

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited troops in the eastern Donetsk region, where the Russian military offensive has been focused lately, marking the armed forces day, the presidency said.

The president appeared in a video shared on social media standing next to a sign bearing the name Slovyansk and called for a moment of silence to remember the killed soldiers.

"From the bottom of my heart, I congratulate you on this great holiday, the Day of the Armed Forces," he said.

Zelenskyy has visited various frontline regions in the past nine months since Russia invaded.

Slovyansk lies some 45 kilometers (27.9 miles) south-east of Bakhmut, where fighting has been concentrated since Kherson fell back into Ukrainian control last month.

Kremlin sees need for lasting peace but no negotiations prospect

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that it agrees with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the need for lasting peace in Ukraine, though it added that it sees no prospect for negotiations at the moment.

"That the outcome should be a just and durable peace — one can agree with this. But as for the prospects for some sort of negotiations, we do not see any at the moment," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He said that Russia would need to complete certain goals of its "special military operation" in Ukraine, as the Kremlin calls its invasion, before it could engage in talks with potential partners.

A day before, Blinken had said in an interview that the conflict would end "almost certainly with diplomacy" and negotiation. However, he stressed the importance of achieving "durable peace, not a phony peace," and said Russia's current stance made talks a non-starter.

"Unless and until Russia demonstrates that it’s interested in meaningful diplomacy, it can’t go anywhere.  If and when it does, we’ll be the first to be ready to help out," Blinken told the Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Matt Murray.

Ukraine working to restore power after Russian strikes

Ukraine was scrambling on Tuesday to restore power after Russia's latest missile barrage, which caused nationwide power disruptions as temperatures drop during winter.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address that "most" of Russia's 70 missiles were shot down. However, the national electricity provider Ukrenergo reported fresh power cuts in all regions.

 Residents prepare food on a street in the town of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, on December 4, 2022.
The Russian airstrikes targeting power grids have left Ukrainians exposed to the biting coldImage: DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP

The head of the Ukrenergo accused Moscow of consulting with power engineers ahead of its anticipated attack to cause as much damage as possible. He added that the attacks coincided with Ukraine's "peak frost" period, with temperatures below freezing point in much of the country. 

The latest string of missile attacks come just when emergency blackouts were due to stop.

Previous heavy bombardment by Russia has damaged nearly half of Ukraine's energy system.

Moscow says its strikes target the Ukrainian military, whereas Kyiv accuses it of targeting civilians. 

Latvian regulator scraps Russian TV license

Latvia's broadcasting regulator on Tuesday canceled the license of Russian independent television station TV Rain, citing the "threat to the national security and public order."

Ivars Abolins, the chairman of the Latvian broadcasting regulator, said that the management of the TV channel failed to understand the importance and seriousness of the items it broadcasts.

The TV will lose its license starting December 8, Abolins said.

"The laws of Latvia must be respected by everyone," he added.

In Latvia, songs for peace, against Russian war in Ukraine

The French AFP news agency reported that the violations cited by Abolins include the TV channel showing as part of Russia the Crimea peninsula, which Russia controversially annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

The channel rejected the accusations against it as "unfair and absurd" in a statement on Tuesday, though it said it would stop its cable broadcast. It would keep material available on the YouTube website, it added.

TV Rain suspended its operations in Russia last month, after Moscow blocked it over its critical coverage of the Ukraine war. It then moved to Riga, where it relaunched with officials' blessings in mid-July.

More DW coverage on Russia's invasion of Ukraine

The New York Times reported that Kyiv hit two military bases inside Russia using unmanned drones. The bases were hundreds of miles inside Russia and the strikes were launched from Ukrainian territory

A wave of Russian missile attacks across Ukraine has destroyed civilian infrastructure and left at least two dead. Meanwhile, a Western price cap on Russian oil has come into effect.

The war in Ukraine has increased demand for weapons as Russia ups production and Western nations seek to replace stock donated to Kyiv. However, a report says the conflict may also hamper production.

Russian propagandists are constantly saying Ukraine is full of Nazis, and posting alleged evidence online. DW's fact-checking team has investigated some of this supposed evidence and found it to be baseless.

rmt/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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