- A third Russian airfield reported being hit by a drone attack
- Ukraine’s Zelensky meets soldiers near the eastern front
- Oil price cap gives G7 leverage to Russia, US official
- US lawmakers allocated more than $800 million for the defense of Ukraine
December 7 (Reuters) – A third Russian airfield was set ablaze by a drone attack a day after Ukraine demonstrated an apparently new ability to penetrate hundreds of kilometers into Russia by attacking two air bases.
Officials in the Russian city of Kursk, about 90 km (60 miles) north of the Ukrainian border, released pictures of black smoke over the airfield after Tuesday’s latest strike. The governor said the oil storage caught fire but there were no casualties.
Russia said on Monday that hundreds of kilometers from Ukraine, what it said were Soviet-era drones had struck Engels Air Base, home to Russia’s fleet of strategic bombers, and Ryazan, a few hours’ drive from Moscow.
Ukraine did not directly claim responsibility for the strikes, but celebrated them.
Sirens sounded at the Engels airfield on Tuesday evening, Russian state news agencies reported, citing the first deputy district administration.
In Washington, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated his country’s commitment to providing Ukraine with the equipment it needs to defend itself, saying it neither encouraged nor enabled Ukrainians to strike inside Russia.
The US lawmakers agreed to give Ukraine at least 800 million dollars next year. USD additional security assistance.
The Russian Defense Ministry said three servicemen were killed in the attack in Ryazan. Although the attacks hit military targets, they characterized them as terrorism and said the aim was to disable long-range aircraft.
Ukraine has never publicly claimed responsibility for attacks inside Russia. When asked about the strikes, Defense Minister Oleski Reznikov repeated a long-complained joke, blaming carelessness with cigarettes. “Very often Russians smoke in places where smoking is prohibited,” he said.
Neighboring Belarus, a close Russian ally, plans to deploy military equipment and forces on Wednesday and Thursday to test its response to terrorism, state news agency BelTA said, adding that mock weapons would be used for the training.
Ukraine has raised fears for months that Belarus and Russia may be planning a joint invasion across Ukraine’s northern border, although Belarus has said it will not take part in the war.
“LEVERAGE AND CONTROL”
At least 20 oil tankers queuing up in Turkey are experiencing increasing delays leaving Russian Black Sea ports for the Mediterranean as operators race to meet new Turkish ban rules introduced ahead of Russia’s oil price cap at the G7, industry sources said.
The disruption in tanker traffic was not due to a cap on Russian oil prices agreed by a coalition of G7 countries and Australia, the group’s official said.
On Monday, a ceiling of $60 a barrel was set above the current price of Urals crude from Russia, the second-largest oil exporter.
G7 countries and Australia will be busy in the coming weeks setting two more caps on Russian refined oil prices, which are expected to take effect by February 5, a US Treasury official told Reuters.
“I think the bottom line is that we have all the leverage and all the control now that we were able to set the $60 cap,” the official said. “Any adjustments will benefit the G7 and will benefit Ukraine, will be in the interest of the world economy and will not be in the interest of Russia.”
ZELENSKIY WITH THE SOLDIERS
Russian forces continued shelling towns and villages on the battlefields of eastern, northeastern and southern Ukraine, the Ukrainian military said Tuesday evening.
Six people were killed by rocket and artillery shelling of Donetsk, the Russian-appointed mayor of the city, Alexander Kulemzin, said on his Telegram channel.
“Look what they’ve done,” said a resident named Irina, gesturing toward the building where her apartment was destroyed. “There are people living there… Go to the fields and fight each other there, not here.
The governor of the Sumy region on the Russian border, Dmitri Zhivytsky, said several people were injured after Russian forces fired 226 shells into seven communities in a day.
War crimes investigators are investigating the deaths of hundreds of civilians since the nearly 10-month conflict began. Russia denies targeting civilians in what it calls a special operation to rid Ukraine of dangerous nationalists.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited soldiers near the front lines in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday.
Addressing troops later in Kiev, Zelensky said he had spent the day with troops in the Donbass, the theater of the heaviest battles, and in the Kharkiv region, where the Ukrainians have seized territories from Russian forces.
“Thousands of Ukrainians gave their lives so that a day would come when not a single occupying soldier would remain on our land and when all our people would be free,” Zelensky, dressed in his signature khaki green, told the crowd.
Reuters bureau reports; By Grant McCool and Lincoln Feast; Edited by Cynthia Osterman, Robert Birsel
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