(Kyiv) Regional officials in southern and western Russia have reported a series of drone attacks near the border with Ukraine and inside the country that caused no casualties , as the war continued on Tuesday.
At the same time, the hacking of Russian TV and radio stations as well as the temporary closure of St. Petersburg airport have fueled suspicions that Kyiv may be behind the disruption.
Overnight Monday-Tuesday, a series of drone attacks targeted areas along the border with Ukraine and deeper into the country. According to local Russian authorities, a drone crashed just 100 kilometers from Moscow.
A drone fell near the village of Gubastovo, about 100 kilometers southeast of Moscow, Andrei Vorobyov, governor of the region surrounding the Russian capital, said in an online statement.
The drone did no damage, Vorobyov said. He did not specify that the drone was Ukrainian, but indicated that it was probably aimed at “a civil infrastructure object”.
Early Tuesday, Russian forces shot down a Ukrainian drone over the Bryansk region, local governor Aleksandr Bogomaz said in a message on Telegram. He said there were no casualties.
Three drones also targeted the Russian region of Belgorod overnight from Monday to Tuesday, with one of them flying through the window of an apartment in the capital of the same name, according to local authorities. The region’s governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said the drones caused minor damage to buildings and cars, but no casualties.
While Ukrainian drone strikes on the Russian border regions of Bryansk and Belgorod, located north of the Ukrainian region of Sumy, are not unusual, the strikes on the regions of Krasnodar and Adygea, further south, deserve be reported.
A fire broke out on Monday at an oil depot in Russia’s Krasnodar region, neighboring Adygea, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported. Russian Telegram channels claimed that two drones had exploded near the depot.
A drone also exploded overnight over Adygea, which is some 600 kilometers east of Crimea, regional governor Murat Kumpilov announced on Telegram. He said no one was hurt in the attack, which damaged farm buildings.
Ukrainian authorities did not immediately acknowledge or comment on the reported strikes. Last year, Russian authorities repeatedly claimed to have shot down Ukrainian drones over annexed Crimea. In December, the Russian military said Ukraine had used drones to strike two long-range bomber bases deep in Russian territory.
Separately, the local government of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city some 1,300 kilometers north of the border with Ukraine, announced early Tuesday that it was temporarily halting all flight departures and arrivals at the airport. main city, Pulkovo. He did not give a reason for this decision.
A few hours earlier, unconfirmed reports on the Russian social network Telegram reported the closure of airspace over St. Petersburg and overflights by Russian warplanes. It could not be immediately determined whether this measure was related to the alleged upsurge in drone attacks in southern Russia.
The Russian military said its air defense forces in western Russia carried out exercises to ‘detect, intercept and identify’ enemy targets in its airspace, as well as coordinate with civilian air traffic services in an emergency situation.
The Russian Defense Ministry did not specifically mention St. Petersburg, but its statement appears intended to explain the temporary airspace closure.
Russian media reported Tuesday morning that in several regions of the country an air raid alarm interrupted the programming of several television and radio stations.
Footage posted by some news sites showed TVs displaying a yellow sign with a person heading for a bomb shelter, with a female voice repeating, “Warning! Air raid alarm. Everyone should head to shelter immediately. »
Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said in an online statement that the announcement was a hoax “resulting from a hacking of the servers of radio stations and TV channels in some regions of the country.”
Inside Ukraine, authorities said on Tuesday that at least two civilians were killed by renewed Russian shelling in the southern city of Kherson and surrounding villages, and that 17 others were injured in the fighting. last 24 hours.
The heaviest fighting has continued in the eastern regions of Ukraine, where Russia wants to control the four provinces it illegally annexed in September.
Ukrainian officials said Russian forces have deployed additional troops and equipment, including modern T-90 tanks, to these areas.
Meanwhile, satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press appear to show a Beriev A-50 early warning plane was parked at an air base in Belarus just before an attack claimed by supporters of that country.
Planet Labs PBC images show the A-50, a late Soviet-era aircraft known for its distinctive rotodome above its fuselage, was parked on the north tarmac at Machulishchy Air Base near Minsk, the capital of Belarus on February 19.
A lower resolution image taken on February 23 shows a similarly shaped aircraft still parked there, but thick cloud cover has blocked any image since.
Belarusian opposition organization BYPOL claimed guerrillas damaged the A-50 in an attack on Sunday.
The Associated Press was unable to independently confirm the attack, which Belarus and Russia have yet to acknowledge.