Ukraine war

Putin orders tightening of Ukraine's border as drones strike Russian territory

The drone attacks in Russia caused no casualties but provoked a security stir as the war with Ukraine entered its second year last week. (Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/File)

A year after invading Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered officials to strengthen control of the border with Ukraine in response to a wave of drone assaults that pose a new challenge for Moscow.

According to the defence ministry, one drone crashed Tuesday barely 100 kilometres (60 miles) southeast of Moscow's Russian capital, while two more crashed in southern Russia.

Officials also shut down the airspace above the northern city of St. Petersburg in response to reports of a drone. Numerous Russian television stations broadcast a missile attack warning that officials blamed on hacking.

There were no casualties reported.

"As for the incident involving the crash of an unmanned aerial vehicle in the Kolomna district, the target was likely a civilian infrastructure facility that was not damaged," Moscow regional governor Andrei Vorobyov said in a statement.

"On the ground, there are no casualties or damage. "The FSB and other competent authorities are investigating," Vorobyov stated.

Officials have not stated what equipment may have been targeted, although the Russian energy corporation Gazprom runs a facility close to the village of Gubastovo, where the drone fell.

Officials from Ukraine have not acknowledged credit for any of the attacks, and they have avoided publicly recognizing involvement in earlier episodes and sabotage.

No drone damage

Images of the drone revealed that it was a Ukrainian-made model. It purportedly has a range of up to 800 kilometres (almost 500 miles) but cannot carry powerful explosives.

Early Tuesday morning, Russian soldiers shot down a Ukrainian drone over the southern region of Bryansk, according to a Telegram message from Governor Aleksandr Bogomaz. According to him, there were no injuries in the incident near the Ukrainian and Belarusian borders.

On Monday night, local authorities reported that three drones targeted Russia's Belgorod region on the Ukrainian border. One flew through a window of an apartment in the region's capital, also named Belgorod, located approximately 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. According to Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, the drones caused minor property damage and no casualties.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Ukraine attacked installations in the southern province of Krasnodar and neighbouring Adygea with drones. Electronic warfare capabilities reportedly brought down the drones. One crashed into a field, and the other deviated from its intended flight route and missed the infrastructure facility it was designed to strike.

Moscow has blamed Ukraine for many drone strikes on Russian military equipment within the nation, including on the 2014-annexed Crimean peninsula and in Belgorod.

Russia announced in December that it had shot down multiple drones at Engels, a vital aircraft facility located hundreds of kilometres from the Ukrainian border.

In January, it appeared that Pantsir defence systems were deployed at the Russian Ministry of Defense and one of Vladimir Putin's mansions, but the Kremlin declined to comment.

Publish : 2023-03-01 10:52:00

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