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Ukraine Rocks Two Russian Military Bases

Explosions hit two air bases deep inside Russia on Monday, including one that houses a key component of Russia’s nuclear deterrent, as Ukraine has hinted at the ability to hit long-range targets, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A fuel tanker exploded at an air base outside of Moscow, killing three, while explosions also racked the Engels military base in Russia’s Saratov region and damaged two of Russia’s nuclear-capable strategic bombers, the WSJ reported.

While Ukrainian officials did not acknowledge responsibility for the strikes, in character with previous approaches toward strikes crossing into Russian territory, the strikes could indicate expanded Ukrainian ability to hit long-range targets.

“If something is launched into other countries’ airspace, sooner or later unknown flying objects will return to departure point,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in a statement, the WSJ reported.

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The targets were located at least 300 miles beyond Russia’s borders, according to the WSJ.

Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported the explosions at the Ryazan airbase southeast of Moscow but did not specify what caused the explosion, the WSJ reported.

The governor of Russia’s Saratov region, where the Engels airbase is located, said law enforcement agencies are investigating the cause of the explosions, the WSJ reported.

Russia has launched long-range strikes against Ukraine using cruise missiles launched by the aircraft stationed at the base, such as those that have decimated Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in the past month.

Engels is also a hub of Russia’s strategic bomber fleet, a pillar in Russia’s nuclear triad, along with land and sea-based nuclear missiles Moscow uses to deter other nations from attempting to target Russia with nuclear or conventional forces, the WSJ reported.

Officials in Moscow acknowledged “incidents at facilities,” and Russian military correspondents said Ukraine used a drone to attack the Engels base, according to the WSJ.

When air bases in Russian-occupied Crimea fell under fire in August, Ukraine only hinted at the possible cause of the strikes until the country’s top military official acknowledged them in September, according to Reuters.

Russia has similarly attributed a number of attacks inside Russian territory, some as early as April, to Ukraine, the WSJ reported.

Later on Monday, Russia peppered Ukraine with new strikes, triggering blackouts and killing at least two, The Associated Press reported.

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