Kyiv, UKRAINE – A mysterious weapon has hit a target deep in the heart of Russia. On Monday morning, a deafening roar that sounded like a jet landing woke up a city in the flat steppe of the Volga region. A flash of lightning and a thunderous explosion shook Engels, named after the philosopher and home to more than 300,000 people, according to surveillance footage. It hit one of Russia’s largest and most important military airfields, home to Tupolev Tu-160 and his Tu-95 strategic bombers. The planes can carry nuclear warheads, and Moscow has repeatedly used them to rain non-nuclear missiles on Ukraine.
Russia blames Ukraine. Kyiv has not claimed responsibility, but it is widely believed that, if confirmed behind them, it would be Russia’s deadliest attack since the war began in February. Since October 10, seven attacks have killed civilians and destroyed or damaged homes, power plants and other infrastructure necessary to protect millions of Ukrainians from the winter.
“This is a historic moment, unexpected not only for the enemy whose plans were thwarted but also for our Western allies,” former Ukrainian deputy chief of staff Lieutenant General Ihor Romanenko told Al Jazeera. rice field. This new weapon can reach most of western Russia, including Moscow, the Lower Volga, and the annexed Crimea, where Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based.
Nikolai Mitrokin, a historian at the University of Bremen, Germany, said: “The weapon is capable of causing serious damage to anything related to oil, chemicals, energy, or, for example, the great bridge over the Volga. It’s powerful enough and accurate.”, opposite Al Jazeera. Her four cities in Russia with over one million inhabitants lie on the Volga, Europe’s longest river.
For centuries, Russians considered it the most important and symbolic water vein, often calling it “Matsushka” or “Dear Mother”. The Volga’s tributaries include the Moskva River, which zigzags through Moscow and supplies water to its 12 million inhabitants. Grand Duke Ivan the Terrible of Moscow only proclaimed himself tsar after conquering the Volga Basin, and taking refuge “behind the Volga” during World War II was a safe haven from air raids by Nazi Germany. It meant the safety of
Dozens of Soviet factories and factories were moved there, and the area became a major Soviet industrial zone, continuing to produce automobiles, textiles, chemicals, plastics, and gasoline. Any of these facilities may now be destroyed or damaged. “Russia needs to completely rethink the concept of air and missile defense, but that will take time, it is not a guarantee of security anyway, and the casualties are countless,” Mitrokin said. Also, millions of ordinary Russians will no longer feel safe. “Residents of these areas, including Muscovites, need to be aware that at some point an explosive ‘mushroom’ can grow outside the window and something dangerous can start burning,” said Mitrokhin. I was.
So far, the damage from the alleged Ukrainian raid has been more symbolic. Two of his Tu-95 bombers were damaged at Engels Air Force Base and a fuel truck was destroyed at Diagilevo Air Base in Ryazan, Russian officials said. At least three of his soldiers were killed and several wounded, they said.
A second attack on Monday did not prevent dozens of planes from taking off to bomb Ukraine. Russia blamed Kyiv, saying it was carried out by a “Soviet jet drone” and shot down before reaching its target.
Officials in Kyiv flatly denied responsibility and responded with all sorts of irony and irony.”The earth is round. “It is a pity that they do not study astronomy in the Kremlin, preferring court astrologers. Otherwise, they would have known that if you sent anything into another country’s airspace, sooner or later the plane would return,” he wrote. “No matter what the enemy says, we haven’t started anything yet,” defense ministry spokesman Yuri Inato said in a televised address on Monday.
His words deliberately mimicked what Russian President Vladimir Putin said in July “Russia hasn’t started doing anything serious in Ukraine yet.” The comments continued the new Ukrainian tradition of ridiculing and denigrating Russia and its soldiers but did not reveal the identity of the weapon.
But a Russian comment about a “Soviet-made jet drone” provided a clue. The USSR developed only one. Codenamed “Strizh” (fast), the Tu-141 reconnaissance drone was released in 1979 when Moscow invaded Afghanistan. In late 1999 and early 2000, planes took off from Priluki airbase in northern Ukraine and landed at Engels airfield as part of Kyiv’s payment for Russian natural gas.
“(Russia) is likely to strengthen and upgrade its air defense equipment, as airfields are equipped for specific types of aircraft,” Romanenko said.