Now heading into its 10th month, with a brutal winter lurking just over the horizon, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is shifting dramatically in the late stages of 2022.
A Russian victory no longer seem unlikely but impossible, as the Kremlin’s fighting force continues to suffer setbacks that very few global experts believed possible.
Now, in a stunning escalation of the conflict, it appears as though Ukraine has been able to strike deep behind the Russian lines, damaging some of the Kremlin’s most expensive and important instruments of war.
Explosions have rocked two Russian airbases far from the frontlines as Kyiv appeared to launch a pre-emptive strike on bombers that the Kremlin has used to try to cripple the Ukrainian electrical grid.
The Russian defence ministry confirmed the attacks on Monday, claiming two of its warplanes had been damaged when it intercepted two Ukrainian drones. For Kyiv the strike represented an unprecedented operation deep inside Russia to disrupt the Kremlin strategy of provoking a humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine on the verge of winter.
One the Russia’s signature weapons appeared to be the target.
Russian media reports and video posted to social media indicated that an explosion occurred early on Monday morning at the Engels-2 airbase in Russia’s Saratov region, which hosts Tu-95 bombers that have taken part in cruise missile strikes against Ukraine.
Another explosion took place at the Dyagilevo military airbase near Ryazan, a city less than 150 miles from Moscow. Three people were killed and five wounded after a fuel truck exploded, Russian state media reported. That base also hosts Tu-95 long-range bombers.
Soon after, Russia launched an estimated 70 missiles into Ukraine. Adding insult to injury, however, it is believed that at least 60 of these were shot down by Ukrainian defenses.