Vladimir Putin was left reeling after a drone attack on a military airfield inside Russia reportedly destroyed two bombers. The strike occurred yesterday at the Shaykovka air base in the Kaluga region, about 200km (124 miles) from the border with Ukraine. The military base is home to Russia’s 52nd Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment, which has a fleet of TU-22M3 long-range bombers.
The aircraft are able to carry and fire Kh-22 missiles, which the Russians have deployed extensively in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian media outlet Lb.ua claimed that two TU-22M3 bombers were wiped out as a result of the strike.
They said: “Russian authorities are trying to hush up information about the losses as a result of the attack.
“According to our information, two Tu-22M3 bombers were destroyed.”
Kaluga’s regional governor, Vladislav Shapsha, confirmed the drone attack, but denied any significant damage had been inflicted.
He wrote on Telegram: “Today there was an explosion at the Shaykovka military airfield in Kaluga region.
“A drone, presumably coming from the direction of the border, crashed
“The airfield infrastructure and equipment were not damaged.
“There is no threat to operations.”
The drone attack coincided with a shoot out between Federal Security Service (FSB) agents and four unidentified men in the Kursk region of Russia.
The western part of the province borders with Ukraine and has come under fire in the past.
The assailants were dressed in camouflage uniforms and were carrying backpacks, according to reports.
The explosion took place around 6am on Saturday while a train was crossing the bridge.
Images showed a fiercely burning fire engulfing at least two railway carriages, and showed a destroyed section of the road bridge lying in the sea.
Ukraine has not claimed direct responsibility for the explosion, although an adviser to President Zelensky said it was “the beginning”.
Mikhail Podolyak tweeted: “Everything illegal must be destroyed, everything stolen must be returned to Ukraine, everything occupied by Russia must be expelled.