What's the deal with the attacks on Russian airbases?

Mysterious explosions at Russia's Engels-2 and Dyagilevo military airbases on Monday: two bomber aircraft were damaged by drone attacks at the Engels airbase and one at the Dyagilevo, where three people were also killed. The two bases are well beyond the range of the drones Ukraine is officially known to have, but Russia is still blaming Ukraine. Europe's commentators also see this as likely.

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24tv.ua (UA) /

Russia can no longer protect its facilities

24tv.ua marvels at how easy such attacks seems to be:

“Unidentified drones were not detected or intercepted by the Russian air defence system. Nor was any warning issued before the attack on the Dyagilevo base, to judge by the injuries and deaths of personnel who were close to the damaged aircraft. The military personnel were thus unable to get to safety before the strike. This indicates that the vast majority of Russian air defence systems and air defence radars are concentrated on the front line. ... The Russians do not have sufficient forces and are not even able to ensure the defence of strategically important targets.”

Nikolai Mitrochin (RU) /

Air defence needs a complete overhaul

Political scientist Nikolai Mitrokhin outlines the military consequences of the attack for Russia on his Facebook page:

“Ukraine now has its own jet-propelled - i.e. fast and long-range - weapons with which it can bombard central Russia. ... These are powerful and accurate enough to cause significant damage, including the destruction of oil, chemical and energy facilities, as well as major bridges (e.g. over the Volga). Russia will have to completely revise the concept of its air and missile defences - which will take some time - and accept losses. ... It is not for nothing that Russian authorities have been checking air raid shelters for the past two months.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Significant retaliation

The possibility of attacking targets on Russian territory is a new turning point and a major morale booster for Ukraine, Večernji list writes:

“With these strikes, the war is symbolically returning to where it came from - Russia. ... They show how incredibly porous the Russian air defence is and how vulnerable Russia is. The Ukrainians have chosen as targets the very military airbases that Russia uses for its attacks on Ukraine. ... All of this, of course, reduces the credibility of the Russian military and its air defences and weakens the morale of the Russian population, while having a positive effect on the morale of the Ukrainians, who are hunkering down for a hard winter.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

Efficient and audacious

La Libre Belgique is full of praise for Ukraine:

“The brutal and unjustified Russian aggression continues. In response, Ukraine is attacking not civilians but military bases and energy facilities. With creativity. With efficiency. With audacity. From the recapture of a city to a tactical and technological feat, they are showing us that they can win this war. And that Western support is not only justified, but also effective.”