Dramatic video captured the moment two Russian nuclear bombers were reportedly blown up in a suspected Ukrainian drone attack at a military airfield on Monday.
The black-and-white footage obtained by East2West News shows a bright flash at the Engels-1 airbase in the Saratov area of Russia.
Two service members were wounded in the attack on the two vintage Tupolev Tu-95 planes — four-engine turboprop strategic bombers, which were introduced in 1952, the Astra Telegram news channel reported, citing unnamed sources.
There were no reports of nuclear contamination in the strike on the planes, known as Bears, some 460 miles from the Ukrainian border.
The blast set off car alarms at least six miles from the site, the Kyiv Post reported.
Saratov Gov. Roman Busargin confirmed in a statement that an explosion had taken place in Engels.
“I want to assure you…there are no reasons to worry. No part of the civilian infrastructure has suffered damage,” he said.
Ukrainian air force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat confirmed that the two bombers at Engels had been damaged and that Russian personnel were killed, the Kyiv Post said.
He neither confirmed nor denied the Ukrainian military’s responsibility for the attack.
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser in Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, said on his Telegram channel Monday: “A drone damaged two Tu-95 aircraft, and a fuel truck exploded at an airfield near Ryazan.”
“It is from Engels airbase that the [Russian] fascists launch rocket attacks on Ukraine,” he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin “was informed about the attacks,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.
The Tu-95s have been deployed in non-nuclear attacks on infrastructure in Ukraine during the strongman’s ongoing invasion of the country.
In another attack, three people were killed and five others wounded when a fuel truck exploded at the Dyagilevo airbase near Ryazan, East2West reported.
The VCHK Telegram channel reported that the strike also was probably conducted by a drone.
“There were explosions at the airfields near Ryazan and Engels [where] there is a strategic aviation airfield,” it said. “There was a drone attack in Engels. In Ryazan, it seems, too.”
Since October, the Kremlin has deployed Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers from Engels to fire as many as 80 cruise missiles a day at Ukraine’s power grid, the Kyiv Post reported.
On Nov. 23, Engels-based bombers devastated Ukraine’s power grid and left tens of millions of residents without power for up to three days.
On Friday, Ukrainian news outlets reported that Russia had as many as 20 strategic bombers at Engels and was planning to launch more strikes in 48 to 72 hours, according to the paper.
One Russian military blogger was livid that the Kremlin’s air defense command was apparently unable to protect the airport from being hit by a low-cost drone.
“They (the West) are laughing. Really, can you imagine how loud the laughter is in the military staffs in America?” Sinyaya Boroda wrote, the Kyiv Post reported.
“The strategic nuclear forces of Russia can be bashed by cheap drones. The strategic nuclear forces of Russia aren’t protected by anything. The strategic nuclear forces of Russia are helpless,” Boroda added.