- It was reported that a third Russian airfield was hit by a drone
- Ukraine’s Zelensky met with troops near the Eastern Front
- Oil price cap gives G7 leverage over Russia – US official
Dec 7 (Reuters) – A third Russian airfield was set on fire by a drone strike, a day after Ukraine attacked two air bases and demonstrated its ability to penetrate hundreds of kilometers into Russian territory.
Officials in the Russian city of Kursk, 90 kilometers north of the border with Ukraine, released images of black smoke over the airfield after Tuesday’s latest strike. According to the governor, an oil storage tank caught fire but no one was injured.
Russia said on Monday that Soviet-era drones had struck Engels Air Base, home to Russia’s strategic bomber fleet, hundreds of miles from Ukraine and the city of Ryazan, a few hours’ drive from Moscow.
Ukraine did not claim direct responsibility for the strikes, but celebrated them nonetheless.
On Tuesday evening, sirens sounded in the area of the airfield in Engels, Russian state news agencies reported with reference to Yevgeny Shpolsky, the first deputy of the Engels district administration.
In Washington, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reiterated his country’s determination to provide Ukraine with the equipment it needs to defend itself, saying it neither encouraged nor enabled Ukrainians to strike inside Russia.
The Russian Ministry of Defense said that three servicemen were killed in the attack in the city of Ryazan. Although the attacks were carried out on military targets, it described them as terrorism and stated that the aim was to disable its long-range aircraft.
Ukraine has never publicly claimed responsibility for attacks inside Russia. When asked about the strikes, Defense Minister Oleskyi Reznikov repeated a long-standing joke that blamed carelessness on cigarettes. “Russians often smoke in places where smoking is prohibited.
The downing of the warplanes has also sparked outrage among Russian military bloggers, whose social media posts can reflect sentiment on the conduct of the war in Russia.
‘LEVERAGE AND CONTROL’
At least 20 oil tankers queued near Turkey are facing further delays to transit from Russian Black Sea ports to the Mediterranean as operators race to meet new Turkish insurance rules added ahead of G7 price caps on Russian oil, industry sources said.
The interruption of the movement of tankers is not the result of price restrictions on Russian oil agreed by the coalition of G7 countries and Australia, an official representative of the organization said.
The $60 per barrel limit was set on Monday above the current price of Urals oil from Russia, the world’s second largest oil exporter.
The G7 countries and Australia will be busy in the coming weeks to determine two more limits on the prices of Russian oil products, which will be implemented by February 5, a US Treasury official told Reuters.
“I think the point is we have all the leverage and all the control, we were able to set the ceiling at $60,” the official said. “Any adjustments will be in the interests of the G7 and in the interests of Ukraine, it will be in the interests of the world economy and not in the interests of Russia.”
ZELENSKY WITH SOLDIERS
Meanwhile, on the battlefield in eastern, northeastern and southern regions of Ukraine, Russian troops continue to shell towns and villages, the Ukrainian army said on Tuesday evening.
Aleksandr Kulemzin, the mayor of the Russian-backed city, said on his Telegram channel that six people were killed by rocket and artillery fire in Donetsk.
Look what they have done, said a resident named Irina, gesturing to the apartment building where her apartment was destroyed. “People live there. People! Where are you going to shoot? Go to the fields instead of here and fight with each other there. How many people are already dying.”
Dmitry Zhivitsky, the governor of the Sumy region bordering Russia, said that several people were injured during a day when Russian soldiers fired 226 shells at seven communities.
War crimes investigators are investigating the deaths of hundreds of civilians since the start of the 10-month conflict. Russia denies targeting civilians in what it calls a special operation to purge Ukraine of dangerous nationalists.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi visited troops near the front line in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday.
Addressing military personnel later at the presidential palace in Kyiv, Zelensky said he had spent the day with troops in the Donbass, the theater of the heaviest fighting, and in the Kharkiv region, where Ukrainians have retaken a number of areas from Russian forces.
“Thousands of Ukrainians have given their lives for the day when not a single occupying soldier will remain on our land and all our people will be free,” Zelenskyi, dressed in his trademark khaki green, told the gathering.
Information from the Reuters agency; Written by Grant McCall; Edited by Cynthia Osterman
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