Mon, 06 February 2023
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Ukraine updates: Blasts reported at two Russian air bases

Update : 05 Dec 2022, 20:50

The explosions occurred deep within Russian territory, destroying planes and leaving several dead. Meanwhile, a western price cap on Russian oil has come into effect.

Explosions at two military airfields in western Russia on Monday left three people dead and several injured.

There were reports of two planes being damaged in the blast at the Engels air base near Saratov, some 860 kilometers (534 miles) southeast of the Russian capital, Moscow. The base reportedly houses T-95 strategic bombers, according to Russian news agencies. The plane is the type that Russia has used for rocket attacks on Ukraine, targeting energy infrastructure.

The Saratov facility is deep into Russia, being some 1,000 kilometers east of Ukraine's capital Kyiv. According to images and reports on social media, the blast was considerable.

At roughly the same time, a gasoline truck blew up on a runway in the region of Ryazan, south of Moscow. No information was available about what caused the blast in Ryazan, where the three fatalities were recorded.

The Ryazan base houses long-range flight tankers that serve to refuel bombers in the air.

Here are the other top headlines related to the war in Ukraine on Monday, December 5:

Ukrainian officials have reported a new wave of Russian missile strikes across the country as Moscow seeks to cripple Ukraine's energy supplies and infrastructure. 

Explosions were reported in several parts of the country, including the cities of Odesa, Cherkasy and Kryvyi Rih.

A missile strike in Odesa cut power to pumping stations, leaving the entire city without water, according to the local water company.

Officials in Kryvyi Rih said "parts of the city are cut off from electricity, several boiler and pumping stations are disconnected."

Authorities urged people to take shelter, with air raid sirens sounded across the country.

"The enemy is again attacking the territory of Ukraine with missiles!" Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian president's office, wrote on Telegram.

A price cap on Russian oil agreed by the EU, G7 and Australia has come into force. The measure has the aim of restricting Russia's revenue as punishment for its invasion of Ukraine, while making sure that Moscow keeps supplying the global market.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded by saying that the measure would contribute to a destabilization of world energy markets. He said it would not affect Russia's military campaign in Ukraine.

The cap took effect alongside an EU embargo on deliveries of Russian crude oil by ship. It comes several months after an embargo was imposed by the United States and Canada.

Russia is the second-largest crude exporter in the world and likely could find new buyers at market prices without the cap.

The UK Ministry of Defence says the number of combat aircraft sorties carried out by Russia over Ukraine has significantly decreased in recent months.

The ministry says Russian aircraft now probably conduct tens of missions per day, compared to a high of up to 300 per day in March 2022.

UK experts say the decrease in sorties is likely a result of at least three factors - a continued high threat from Ukrainian air defenses, limitations on the flying hours available to Russian aircraft, and worsening weather.

Russia has now lost more than 60 fixed-wing aircraft in the conflict.

The ministry said that, because Russia's ground attack tactics are largely reliant on visual identification and unguided munitions, the Russian air force will likely continue some ground attack operations through the poor winter weather.

The United Arab Emirates and Ukraine have announced talks on a bilateral trade deal that is expected to conclude by the middle of next year

The Gulf Arab state has tried to remain neutral in the Russia-Ukraine war despite pressure from the West on Gulf oil producers to do more to help isolate Moscow. The UAE has called for diplomacy to resolve the conflict.

The war in Ukraine has increased demand for weapons as Russia ups production and Western nations seek to replace stock donated to Kyiv. However, a report says the conflict may also hamper production.

The EU has stopped buying Russian seaborne crude oil as it seeks to deprive Moscow of a key revenue source fueling its war in Ukraine. The move will hurt Russia but not as much as the bloc would have liked.

As winter draws in at the front in Ukraine, what Russia's army really needs is a rest. This could prove to be an opportunity for Kyiv — but, to take advantage of it, Ukraine needs more ammunition.

Russia continues to attack energy infrastructure in Ukraine, causing homes to lose power, heat and water. Experts say it's a cynical tactic with a long history.

Russian propagandists are constantly saying Ukraine is full of Nazis, and posting alleged evidence online. DW's fact-checking team has investigated some of this supposed evidence and found it to be baseless.

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