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Russia claims to shoot down Ukrainian drones at southern airfields

Satellite images show a bomber preparing to take off at the Engels airbase in Saratov
Satellite images show a bomber preparing to take off at the Engels airbase in Saratov

WASHINGTON — Russian forces shot down a Ukrainian drone on Monday and debris from the plane killed three people when it crashed at a base in southern Russia, Russian news agencies quoted the country’s defense ministry as saying.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the drone flew at a low altitude Monday morning, approaching the Engels military airport in Russia’s Saratov region, where the three victims were Russian servicemen.

The base is hundreds of kilometers from the front line of the Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Russia said Ukrainian drones attacked the same base on December 5.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed gratitude to all those who “did everything they could for us to live” in his nightly video address on Sunday.

Among those he thanked were the soldiers, repairmen, utility workers, volunteers, nurses, and all medical personnel, educators, and information technology specialists who stood on the front lines and tried to move forward, as well as all those who helped keep Ukraine resilient.

Zelensky also thanked the journalists who spread the truth, as well as the leaders and people of Ukraine who supported Ukraine.

He also urged all parties to remain vigilant. “There are only a few days left this year,” he said. We must realize that our enemies will try to make our time dark and difficult. ”

Zelensky said: “Russia has lost everything it can lose this year. But it is trying to compensate for some losses with schadenfreude propaganda after hitting our country with missiles, hitting our energy sector. ”

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“I know that darkness will not stop us from bringing the occupiers to their more defeats,” he said.

In an interview that aired Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia was ready to negotiate with all parties to the war in Ukraine, but Kiev and its Western backers refused to participate.

The Kremlin says it will continue to fight until all its objectives are achieved. At the same time, Kiev insists it will not stop fighting until all Russian troops are driven out of Ukrainian territory, including Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.

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