A Ukrainian drone attack on an airbase for bombers in southern Russia has left three people dead, Moscow says.

The drone was shot down near the Engels base, but falling debris killed three technical personnel, according to the defence ministry.

Russia accused Ukraine earlier this month of carrying out a similar attack on the airfield, which is home to bombers that have carried out missile attacks on Ukraine.

Ukraine war: Drone attack on Russian bomber base leaves three dead
The Engels air base has been repeatedly used by Russia to carry out missile strikes on various targets in Ukraine

The base is located approximately 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Ukraine’s border.

The Ukrainian military has not yet issued an official statement on the attacks, but BBC Russia Editor Steve Rosenberg says the latest incident will embarrass Russian authorities.

Russia’s defense ministry reported that its air defenses shot down a low-flying drone around 01:35 on Monday (22:35 GMT Sunday).

Saratov governor Roman Busargin expressed his condolences to the men’s families and friends, and stated that there was “absolutely no threat to residents” in the town of Engels itself.

Previously, social media users shared videos of what sounded like blasts and air sirens at the Engels airfield.

Three servicemen were killed by debris from a downed Ukrainian drone in the previous reported attack on the airfield and another air base in the Ryazan region on 5 December, according to Moscow at the time. Two aircraft were lightly damaged.

The Ukrainian military made no comment on the reported attacks.

Map showing location of Russian bases

Since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion on February 24, the Engels air base has been repeatedly used by Russia to launch missile strikes on various targets in Ukraine.

The Kremlin has previously accused Ukraine of attacking its territory, but the alleged attacks in December are deeper into Russia than previous ones.