TWO of Vladimir Putin's Tu-95 nuke bombers were reportedly blown up in a suspected Ukrainian drone attack at a high-security Russian airbase.
Shocking footage showed a huge flash at the Engels airbase in the Saratov region of Russia after the apparent early morning strike.
Two Tu-95s – known as Bears – were reportedly destroyed in the explosion.
The bombers have been used to blast targets in Ukraine with non-nuclear weapons, particularly in recent weeks as Putin continues to blitz the country's infrastructure.
Two Russian troops were injured and rushed to hospital after the suspected Ukrainian strike, Visegrád 24 reports.
Traffic was said to be at a standstill near the airfield on Monday as emergency services responded to the attack.
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According to reports, the airbase had been on high alert for a fresh round of strikes on Ukraine.
The Tu-95s first flew 70 years ago and Putin has previously deployed the bombers to buzz Britain amid mounting tensions over the Ukraine war.
In February, the Royal Air Force scrambled Typhoon fighters to escort two Bears off northern Scotland.
Two Tu-95 strategic bombers were accompanied by two Tu-142 Bear F maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare planes.
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In another unconfirmed attack on Monday, a fuel truck exploded at an airbase near Ryazan – a base for Russian special forces – killing three people, and wounding five.
A resident in the city said: "Everything in my house flew off the shelves. I thought the windows would fly out. We live not far from the take-off zone."
Another said: "The blast wave broke the latch on the window and flung it open. You could see a column of smoke and sparks.
"The explosion was a single one, strong. There was no exact sound of something falling before the explosion.
"It looks like a fuel tank explosion to me."
The apparent drone strike also reportedly damaged an aircraft at the base.
A report from Readovka warned Moscow could be under attack if the strike came from Ukraine.
It said: "If the drone came from Ukraine, then our enemy already has technology with a range of 1000km, which means that Moscow could be under attack.
"There is only one conclusion: counter-terrorism measures on the territory of the Russian Federation should be strengthened to the maximum, retaliation strikes should be continued tenfold.
“Until the Russian response has a massive effect, such attacks will continue."
But Saratov region governor Roman Busargin said there was "no cause for concern".
He said: "Information about a loud explosion and outbreak in Engels in the early hours of this morning is spreading on social media and the media.
"I would like to assure you that no emergencies have occurred in the residential areas of the city.
"There is no cause for concern. No civilian infrastructure was damaged."
In October, satellite images showed an "irregular presence" of Russian Tu-160 and Tu-95 bombers at the Olenya airbase, near the Finland border.
It comes after four Tu-95 bombers and two Chinese H-6K bombers staged a show of force to the West last week.
South Korea's military was forced to scramble fighter jets after six Russian and two Chinese warplanes flew into its air defence zone without notice.
Seoul said China's H-6K bombers repeatedly entered and exited the Korea Air Defence Identification Zone near South Korea's southern and north eastern coasts early on Wednesday.
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Hours later they returned to the zone from the East Sea with Russian warplanes – including two Su-35 fighter jets and four Tu-95 bombers.
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