BBC: “Russian energy giant Gazprom operates a facility about ….100 km (62 miles) from Moscow, where the drone crashed.”
For the first time since the war began a year ago, Ukrainians have reportedly attempted to carry out a drone strike deep inside the Russian heartland. The Russian military on Tuesday claimed to have downed a Ukrainian attack drone near Moscow.
The drone apparently traveled nearly 500 miles into Russian airspace aimed at a state-owned natural gas facility. “Russian energy giant Gazprom operates a facility near the village of Gubastovo, about 100 km (62 miles) from Moscow, where the drone crashed,” the BBC reported.
The UK newspaper Guardian reported.
A military drone attempted to strike a gas facility in the Moscow region, according to a senior Russian official, and photos of the wreckage suggested it was Ukrainian-made, indicating a rare attempted strike hundreds of miles behind Russian lines.
The alleged attack was one of several reports of successful or attempted unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) strikes in at least four regions of Russia.
The Moscow region governor, Andrei Vorobyov, on Monday confirmed a UAV crash-landed in the village of Gubastovo near the capital and was apparently aiming for a “civilian infrastructure site”.
The target was a Gazprom gas compression station in the Moscow suburbs, just over 50 miles south-east of the Kremlin. Photographs of the drone posted to social media indicate it was a Ukrainian-made UJ-22.
Multiple drone strikes by the Ukrainian military were also reported in Crimea, a Black Sea peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The British newspaper Telegraph reported Wednesday:
Russia’s defence ministry on Wednesday claimed it had thwarted what it described as a massive Ukrainian drone attack on Crimea.
“Six Ukrainian strike unmanned vehicles were shot down by air defense systems. Four more were disabled by electronic warfare,” the defence ministry said.
Russia has suffered a series of high-profile suspected drone attacks in recent days, both along the border with Ukraine and deep inside its territory, with one unmanned aircraft of a Ukrainian design crashing near an oil facility just 60 miles from Moscow on Tuesday.
If the strike, along with others on Tuesday, were launched from Ukrainian territory, then it would make them some of the most ambitious since the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion last February.
While the attacks apparently did not inflict any significant damage, their number and scope posed a new challenge to Russia as the war dragged into a second year. One assault came as close as 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Moscow.
Some observers said the strikes could be a rehearsal for a broader Ukrainian attack on facilities deep inside Russia.
Drone Strike Destroys Russian Surveillance Aircraft in Belarus, Reports Claim
The Ukrainian strikes come days after the Belarusian anti-government forces claimed responsibility for a drone attack on a high-value Russian surveillance aircraft at an airfield near the Belarus capital of Minsk.
Aerial imagery later seems to confirm their claims. A “satellite image has emerged of the Beriev A-50 aircraft on the tarmac of the Belarusian airfield where it was reportedly attacked,” Sky News UK reported Monday. “The A-50 can be seen on the left of the image of Machulishchy air base.”
The A-50, which carries a price tag of nearly $350 million, is the most advanced surveillance aircraft in the Russian arsenal. “The Beriev A-50 aircraft, which has the NATO reporting name of Mainstay, is a Russian airborne early warning aircraft, with airborne command and control capabilities, and the ability to track up to 60 targets at a time,” the UK broadcaster explained.
Report: Russian Forces Encircling Key Town of Bakhmut
After months of intense fighting, the Russian ground forces are pushing to take the strategic town of Bakhmut, which could clear the way for Moscow to bring the entire eastern Donbas region under its control.
President Volodymyr Zelensky, who in recent months repeatedly vowed to fight for the city ‘to the last,’ admitted that it was getting “more and more difficult” to hold it amid mounting Russian assaults. The Times of London reported Tuesday:
The situation in Bakhmut is becoming “more and more difficult” as Russian troops advance on the Ukrainian city, President Zelensky has said.
“The enemy is constantly destroying everything that can be used to protect our positions. Our soldiers defending the area around Bakhmut are true heroes,” Zelensky said in his evening address.
Other Western news outlets also shared the grim assessment. “Ukrainian forces say the situation in the eastern city of Bakhmut is extremely tense as Russian troops intensify their assault. They say Russia is trying to cut Ukrainian supply lines to the city and force them to surrender or withdraw,” the German state TV Deutsche Welle reported Wednesday.
The news agency Reuters also reported possible Russian encirclement of the city, writing: “Russian forces carried out relentless attacks on Bakhmut on Wednesday, trying to encircle the small eastern Ukrainian city and claim their first major prize for more than half a year after some of the bloodiest fighting of the war.”DONATE
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