Explosions remain unexplained at two Russia airbases, as Moldova is hit by another stray missile

Two mystery explosions at air bases in Russia have killed three people and damaged long-range bombers, as Ukrainians braced themselves for a fresh wave of missile attacks across the country.

Citizens shelter in the Metro as Russia launches another missile attack in Kyiv, Ukraine. Ukrainian officials expect a new wave of Russian bombing this week, with previous rounds targeting critical infrastructure and causing massive water and power cuts, including in the capital.
Citizens shelter in the Metro as Russia launches another missile attack in Kyiv, Ukraine. Ukrainian officials expect a new wave of Russian bombing this week, with previous rounds targeting critical infrastructure and causing massive water and power cuts, including in the capital.

A fuel tanker exploded, killing three and injuring six in an airfield near the city Ryazan, south-east of Moscow, local media has reported, while in a separate incident, there was an explosion at an airfield in the Saratov region, allegedly damaging two long-range Tu-95 aircraft. Both bases are hundreds of kilometres from the Ukrainian border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, drove a truck across a bridge linking his country to the Crimean Peninsula following its repair from a bombing in October that had embarrassed Moscow.

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The unexplained blasts come as another stray missile from the conflict has landed in a third party country. The weapon was found by a police patrol in the Briceni region in Moldova, close to the border with Ukraine, a statement from Moldova’s Interior Ministry said – the second time the war has encroached onto Moldovan soil. In October, a stray missile shot down by a Ukrainian anti-aircraft system landed in a Moldovan border village, damaging a number of houses.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu meet soldiers outside the town of Ryazan in October. An airfield near the town was one of two which were allegedly hit by missiles.

The incident occurred just weeks after two people were killed on a farm near the village of Przewodow in southeastern Poland after a missile strike went off course.

On Monday, power outages hit citizens in Ukraine, including in Kyiv, while residents were told to shelter underground and air raid sirens sounded as further missile attacks on cities were expected. Moldova also announced blackouts in swathes of the country, due to attacks on infrastructure targets in neighbouring Ukraine. Although Moldova now receives up to 90 per cent of its energy from Romania, its grid is tied to Ukraine's, and power blackouts occur due to the automatic disconnection of stations from the grid in order to prevent damage to the network.

The office of President Volodymyr Zelensky said three rocket strikes hit his hometown of Kryvyi Rih in south-central Ukraine, killing a factory worker and injuring three other people.

Officials in Kherson, which was formerly occupied by Russia, but was liberated by Ukrainian forces last month, said the region was shelled 46 times on Sunday alone. Russian forces retreated to the opposite side of the Dnipro river, from where they have since been attacking the city.

In a Telegram update, deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, wrote: "During the day, the occupiers shelled the region 46 times with mortars, tanks, artillery and MLRS".

He added that apartments and private buildings were "destroyed" in Kherson.

Meanwhile, in the north-eastern region of Kharkiv, one person was killed in strikes by S-300 missiles on civilian infrastructure in the town of Kupyansk, it said.

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Ukraine has not formally commented on the Russian airfield incidents, however presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak appeared to refer to the reported incidents in a tweet. Ukrainian media reported last week that Tu-95 aircraft – which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons – had been spotted in its airspace.

Mr Podolyak said: "If something is launched into [an]other countries' airspace, sooner or later unknown flying objects will return to departure point."

Russia has also not commented. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said simply that president Vladimir Putin is being regularly informed about ongoing developments.