Reuters – Three Russian military soldiers were killed early Monday by the falling debris of a Ukrainian drone shot down while bombing a facility in Russia’s Saratov area, according to Russian news outlets quoting the defence ministry.

It was the base’s second attack this month.

“A Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down at low altitude while approaching the Engels military base in the Saratov area,” the Russian ministry said, according to news media.

“Three Russian troops from the technical staff who were at the airfield were killed as a result of the fall of the debris of the drone.”

The installation, near Saratov, approximately 730 kilometres (450 miles) southeast of Moscow and hundreds of kilometres from the Ukrainian front lines, was damaged on December 5 in what Russia described as Ukrainian drone assaults on two Russian air bases that day.

Analysts said the two strikes handed Russia a severe reputational damage and sparked concerns about why its defences failed, as emphasis shifted to the use of drones in the neighbourly conflict.

Ukraine has never openly claimed credit for Russian-based assaults, but has stated that such acts constitute “karma” for Russia’s invasion.

The Russian defence ministry stated that no aircraft were damaged, however unofficial Russian and Ukrainian social media accounts claimed that a number of planes were destroyed.

The reports could not be independently verified by Reuters.

The governor of the Saratov area, Roman Busargin, stated earlier on Monday that no civil infrastructure facilities were harmed in the event.

“There is no danger to citizens… Civil infrastructure facilities have not been affected,” Busargin stated.

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