Friday, May 24, 2024

Russia says foiled massive Ukrainian drone attack

Russian air defenses successfully intercepted several Ukrainian drone raids across the western part of the country overnight, destroying dozens of aircraft, the Defense Ministry announced Saturday.

In a statement on Saturday, the ministry said the military had thwarted “attempts by the Kiev regime to carry out a series of terrorist acts” on Russian territory.

It claimed that Moscow’s forces had destroyed a total of 50 Ukrainian drones – 26 were shot down over Belgorod Region, ten over Bryansk Region, and eight over Kursk Region, officials added. All of the areas border Ukraine.

The ministry also reported the downing of several aircraft deeper into Russia, saying that two were intercepted over Tula Region. It added that individual drones were destroyed in Smolensk, Ryazan, Kaluga, and Moscow Regions.

Smolensk Region Governor Vasily Anokhin stated that Ukrainian drones attempted to bomb an undisclosed oil and energy facility. He noted that while they were downed, debris fell onto a storage unit of oil and lubricants, resulting in a fire. The exact data on casualties is being determined, the governor added.

Meanwhile, Belgorod Region Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said Ukrainian drones dropped two explosive devices on border villages, setting fire to a private residential building.

Gladkov reported that two civilians were killed in the attack, including a woman with a broken femur and a man who was tending to her. He added that the son of the deceased woman managed to escape the burning house at the last moment.

Later, the governor stated that in the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka, a pregnant woman was seriously injured by Ukrainian shelling. The woman and her unborn child ended up dying in the hospital, the official said, adding that three other people were also wounded in the attack.

Bryansk Governor Aleksandr Bogomaz said drone debris resulted in a fire at an energy facility in the region, adding that emergency services were working at the scene.

Ukraine routinely targets Russian border regions with drone and artillery strikes, causing widespread devastation and numerous civilian deaths. Kiev also periodically launches attacks on facilities deeper into Russia.

In recent weeks, Ukraine’s focus has been on Russian oil processing facilities, prompting US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to publicly warn that these actions “could have a knock-on effect in terms of the global energy situation”.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would prefer the US – Kiev’s main backer – to push Ukraine to completely abandon its “terrorist activities,” especially regarding strikes on critical infrastructure and residential buildings.

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