An alleged drone attack on a Russian air base Monday appears to have been captured on video, showing the moment two Russian planes capable of carrying nuclear bombs are reportedly destroyed.
Earlier Monday, explosions were reported at two Russian air bases—an airfield near the city of Ryazan, southeast of Moscow, and another in the Saratov region. The blast at the Engels base in Saratov, which Radio Free Europe said is about 600 kilometers, or nearly 373 miles, from Ukraine, is the one purportedly pictured in the footage shared Monday on Twitter by the Belarusian news outlet Nexta.
Initially, the video, which appears to have been taken from some type of security camera footage, shows only a lot containing several parked cars. A large flash of light is then momentarily seen in the distance.
Nexta reported that the blast was caused by a drone attack and destroyed two Tu-95 planes. The Tu-95, also called the “Bear,” is a bomber that can carry heavy payloads, including nuclear weapons, over long distances.
Independent Russian journalism channel Astra Telegram, citing anonymous sources, also reported that a drone attack caused the Engels blast and that two Tu-95 bomber planes were destroyed. Astra also said that two Russian servicemen had been hospitalized and injured in the explosion.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has contacted for confirmation of the video’s accuracy and that a drone was behind the attack and two Tu-95 planes were destroyed, but has not responded.
Ukraine did not directly claim responsibility for the explosions, although a Ukrainian official appeared to mock Russia on social media following the blasts.
“The Earth is round – discovery made by Galileo. Astronomy was not studied in Kremlin, giving preference to court astrologers,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted. “If it was, they would know: if something is launched into other countries’ airspace, sooner or later unknown flying objects will return to departure point.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that the only information he had on the explosions came from media reports and that he could not comment further on the incident.
Noting that information was already spreading on social networks and in the media, Saratov Governor Roman Busargin wrote on Telegram Monday that law enforcement was looking into “incidents” at military facilities.
“I want to assure you that no emergencies occurred in the residential areas of the city,” he wrote. “There are no reasons for concern. No civilian infrastructure was damaged.”
Later Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement blaming Ukrainian drones for the explosions at both bases. The statement said Russian air defenses intercepted and shot down the drones as they flew at low altitude, but two aircraft were slightly, according to Reuters.
Additionally, three military personnel were killed and four people were wounded, the ministry said.
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