Russia warns of "clash between nuclear powers" as drones hit its bases




Kyiv, Ukraine - Russia retaliated in brutal fashion this week after drone strikes targeted three airfields - including two deep inside its territory. The last strike came Tuesday morning, against a Russian airport just across the border from Ukraine, but it was preceded by two others on Monday that saw drones penetrate hundreds of miles into Russia.

The first strikes - which Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for, vaguely calling it karma for Russia's invasion and air assault that began in February - drew a new barrage of missiles from Russian forces, taking aim at dozens of targets in Ukraine.

In this handout photo released by the administration of the Kursk region of Russia on December 6, 2022, smoke rises from the area of Kursk airport, outside Kursk, Russia.
In this handout photo released by the administration of the Kursk region of Russia on December 6, 2022, smoke rises from the area of Kursk airport, outside Kursk, Russia.  

Russia has been trying to demoralize Ukrainians and their army by knocking out power and water infrastructure. Monday's frenzied attack on cities and towns across the country saw more than 70 missiles fired, according to Ukrainian officials. Kyiv's governor said about 40% of the capital region was left in the dark, but the impact from Moscow's assault could have been far worse were it not for Ukraine's missile defenses.

Ukrainian officials say the vast majority of the rockets fired by Russia on Monday were shot out of the sky.

Still small comfort for those who've paid the ultimate price, including Olha Trosyna's two neighbors.

"They were seeing off their son and daughter-in-law," Trosyna told CBS News in Kyiv. "They went outside to wave goodbye, and they were killed. Their house was also destroyed."

Amid the volley of missiles, Moscow also hurled another dire warning at the U.S. and Ukraine's other Western backers.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who's been a close advisor to President Vladimir Putin for decades, called the NATO alliance's support for Ukraine a "serious threat" to Russia, and warned that it risked a "direct clash between nuclear powers with catastrophic consequences."

Russia has ruthlessly targeted Ukraine's civilian infrastructure for months, destroying homes along with key pieces of the country's energy grid. Putin has been accused of weaponizing winter by plunging huge parts of the neighboring country into cold and darkness.

In the southern city of Kherson, which was liberated from Russia's invading forces just three weeks ago, volunteers now have little choice but to cook meals over open fires so people have something hot to eat.

Nine months of Russian occupation has obliterated any semblance of normalcy in Kherson, but what Ukrainians have shown time and again is that they will do everything they can to help each other, and resist Putin's efforts to quash their spirit.

Workers repair electricity cables damaged during shelling by Russian forces in Kherson, Ukraine, December 3, 2022.
Workers repair electricity cables damaged during shelling by Russian forces in Kherson, Ukraine, December 3, 2022.  

Energy workers have become a vital part of the defense efforts, scrabbling to restore powerlines in the bitter cold, and having to pick their way around unexploded ordnance that litters huge parts of Ukraine.

As Moscow continues to make life miserable for Ukrainians, Putin made a rare public appearance on Monday, cruising along a vital bridge that serves as the only land link between Ukraine's Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula and the Russian mainland in a Mercedes on Monday.

It's a bridge that was seriously damaged by a huge explosion two months ago. Ukraine also declined to publicly take responsibility for that blast, as it did on Tuesday after the two military bases some 300 miles inside Russia were struck by drones.

Once again, officials in Kyiv put the blasts down to karma, making it clear that whatever may happen in Russia, it's not Ukraine's fault, but Vladimir Putin's.

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