Russia responds to air base bombings with largest missile strike to date

Aleksandr Markin / Wikipedia

Explosions have been reported across Ukraine after Russian armed forces launch another cruise missile attack. 

According to several reports, more than 100 cruise missiles have been launched from strategic bombers and warships, targeting civilian infrastructure in a similar manner to previous attacks.  

If the number is correct, that would make the attack the largest one to date because previous strikes did not exceed 70-80 missiles.  

The attack follows explosions at Engels-2 and Dyagilevo during the morning of December 5, 2022, two Russian strategic bomber bases located around 500 kilometers (300 miles) from the Ukrainian border.  

Waves of attacks  

According to preliminary reports, a wave of bombers took off soon after the attacks, although at the time it was unclear if they are armed or not.  

Air raid alarms began to sound in all regions of Ukraine several hours later, except for in occupied Crimea, according to online alarm maps, and people began to gather in shelters, local media reported 

The first reports about missiles entering Ukrainian airspace began to appear on social media at approximately 13:30 EET (11:30 AM GMT), predominantly published by Telegram channels belonging to Ukrainian regional administrations.  

These were followed by reports about working air defenses in Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions, such as Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv and Odessa.  

According to the governor of Mikolayv Oblast Vitalii Kim, three waves of missiles were launched. Other reports, citing Ukrainian government officials, said all three waves consist of more than 100 missiles fired from 13 aircraft.  

Impacts and interceptions  

Pictures and video footage of missiles being intercepted appeared on social media, alongside claims about fighter jets being active on interceptor duty in Kyiv region.  

At the same time, reports of missiles impacting infrastructure began to come in. According to reports published to local media channels, electric grid stations, civilian houses and other buildings were hit in Zaporizhzhia, Vinnytsia and other regions.   

Soon after the start of the attack, Moldovian electricity provider Moldelectrica issued a statement announcing that it was experiencing difficulties with electricity supply and warning about possible blackouts. Fragments of at least one missile, presumably shot down by Ukrainian air defenses, have also fallen in the territory of the country, according to local media.   

The Moldovan electricity grid also suffered during previous attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, with damage being felt by the Eastern part of the country, including the pro-Russian separatist region of Transnistria.  

Blackouts have also been reported in Ukraine’s Odesa, Sumy and Zhytomyr regions.  

UPDATE 12-06-2022, 12:00 (UTC +3): According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, 70 X-101, X-555, X-59 and Kalibr cruise missiles have been launched during the attack on December 5, which makes it similar in size, if not slightly smaller than most of the previous attacks. This makes the early reports about over 100 missiles being launched incorrect.

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