The explosion of a nuclear air base just 150 miles from Moscow opens a breathtaking new phase of war

Sergei Karpukhine/Reuters

Two major explosions Russian military basesincluding the Dyagilevo base near Ryazan just 150 miles from Moscowmeans war in Ukraine came straight on the doorstep of Vladimir Putin.

The blasts, which were unmanned drone strikes, a senior Ukrainian official said The New York Times– suggest that Ukraine wanted to strike fear into the heart of Russia.

The second explosion hit the Engels-2 base, from which Tu-95 bombers have bombed Ukrainian infrastructure for the past month.

Engels and Ryazan are about 300 to 450 miles from the Ukrainian border, which is out of range of any known missile in Ukrainian possession, the Time reported.

The explosion of a tanker at the base near Ryazan killed at least three people and injured half a dozen, and damaged Tu-95 bombers and Tu-22M long-range missile bombers, which have nuclear capability.

Video posted on social media suggests the telltale whistle of a fighter jet or missile can be heard just before the Saratov base exploded, according to to Guardian.

On Monday afternoon, several people in Crimea reported hearing explosions there, suggesting a coordinated effort.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov first confirmed that Putin had been briefed on the “situation” but did not speculate who might be behind it, claiming rather unbelievably that he had “not read about it” than in the media, according to reporters at a Monday briefing. .

The Kremlin later said its forces intercepted the drones, confirming the deaths of three servicemen and damage to two planes in the “wreckage falling and exploding”.

Almost immediately after the reports, air raid sirens across Ukraine heralded a barrage of missile strikes, many of which targeted Zaporizhzhia, where at least two people were reportedly killed after missiles destroyed several residential blocks. Several towns said they had no electricity or water after the Russian strikes.

Roman Busargin, governor of the Saratov region where the Engels-2 base is located, wrote on Telegram that law enforcement was seeking “information about incidents at military facilities”, adding that “no emergency is ‘is produced in the residential areas of the city’.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko posted footage of the blasts on Telegram, suggesting they were watching closely. “Some sources report that this morning planes based on the airfields of Engels and Ryazan were to bomb Ukraine’s energy infrastructure again,” Gerashchenko wrote Monday morning.

Other officials thought Russia’s cumulative losses were Ukraine’s gain. “The Earth is round, discovery made by Galileo. Astronomy was not studied in the Kremlin, giving preference to court astrologers,” Volodymyr Zelensky’s adviser Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Telegram on Monday. “If that were the case, they would know: if something is launched in the airspace of other countries, sooner or later unknown flying objects will return to the starting point.”

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