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Russia reports deaths in explosions at military airfields

At least three people were killed and several injured in explosions at two military airfields in the European part of Russia.

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Russia reports deaths in explosions at military airfields

At least three people were killed and several injured in explosions at two military airfields in the European part of Russia. "An unidentified drone attacked an airfield in the Saratov region," Baza said on Monday. Two people had to be taken to the hospital.

Around the same time, according to local media reports, a petrol truck detonated on the tarmac in the Ryazan region south of Moscow, killing three people and injuring five. There was initially no information about the cause of the explosion in Ryazan. An airplane is said to have been damaged there. According to the report, two machines were also damaged at Engels-2 Airport near Saratov.

The aircraft in Saratov are said to be Tu-95 strategic bombers. These bombers are used in Russian missile attacks on Ukraine. In the past few weeks, the Ukrainian energy infrastructure has been massively damaged by such attacks.

In the past, Kyiv has admitted attacks on several air bases on Russia's annexed Crimea peninsula. It was initially unclear who was behind the recent explosions.

On Monday afternoon, however, air alerts sounded in many parts of Ukraine. Sirens wailed, local authorities said. People are urgently called upon to seek protection.

In view of the winter that has already set in, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenky has appealed to the population for stamina and resilience. "The enemy very much hopes to use winter against us: to make the winter cold and hardship part of their terror," he said in his daily video address Sunday night. "We must do everything we can to survive this winter, no matter how hard it is." Enduring this winter means enduring everything.

Russia does have an advantage with missiles and artillery. "But we have something the occupier doesn't have and won't have. We protect our home, and that gives us the greatest possible motivation, ”emphasized Zelenskyj. The Ukrainian people fight for freedom and defend the truth. "To get through the winter, we need to be more resilient and united than ever," Zelenskyy said.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is anticipating an increase in displacement within Ukraine due to the ongoing Russian war of aggression rather than a large flow of refugees towards the EU countries. "The most likely scenario is further displacement within Ukraine," UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said in an interview with Der Spiegel published on Sunday. "I hope there won't be another large movement of refugees." At the same time, he qualified: "But war is unpredictable."

In view of the winter weather and ongoing Russian attacks on the country's civilian infrastructure - especially on electricity and heat supply facilities - there have been repeated fears that many more Ukrainians could now flee to the EU. To this end, the German ambassador in London, Miguel Berger, made a statement on Sunday. "We are very concerned about this because these attacks on energy infrastructure mean many people could be forced to leave Ukraine in the freezing temperatures."

According to UNHCR, Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the end of February has led to the largest displacement of people in decades. It was only at the beginning of November that Grandi said in New York that around 14 million people had been driven from their homes since the beginning of the war. Almost eight million have sought protection abroad, one million of them in Germany.

Several Russian rockets hit the city of Zaporizhia on Monday night. The target of the attacks were industrial buildings and energy infrastructure objects, reported the state agency Unian. No information was given about possible victims or the extent of the damage.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin denounced a "dramatic increase" in sexual violence by Russian soldiers. As a result of the Russian war of aggression, all genders and age groups are affected, children as well as the elderly, Kostin told the Funke media group and the French newspaper Ouest-France. Russian soldiers used sexual violence in a targeted manner - as a "war method to humiliate Ukrainians," he claimed.

Four months ago, only 40 cases of sexual violence were registered, but now there are more than 110 cases. “Tendency strongly increasing.” There is also a high number of unreported cases. “In many cases, people are raped, tortured and then killed by Russian soldiers. Rapes often take place in front of relatives and children,” said Kostin. Occupied areas are particularly affected. According to Kostin, Russian commanders often ordered rapes or at least supported them. The information provided by the Attorney General could not initially be independently verified.

According to Kostin, almost 8,500 civilians, including 440 children, have been killed in Ukraine since the war began a good nine months ago. More than 11,000 civilians were injured. The Attorney General's Office has taken on 50,197 war crimes cases so far, he told the newspapers.

"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or directly via RSS feed.

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