Russia rocked by extraordinary waves of drone attacks through night

Putin’s Defence Ministry said that waves of drones attacked multiple Russian regions in the early hours of Wednesday. And the Mayor of Moscow described the aerial offensive as a “mass” attack.

Former Nato official Edward Hunter-Christie has said the attacks prove “the air war is now genuinely mutual”. And Kyiv’s Mayor has said Ukraine’s capital was also rocked by explosions through the night – with at least two people reported to have died.

In Russia, Drones successfully hit an airport in the Pskov Oblast, starting a ferocious fire. The attack destroyed four huge military planes and the airport has been closed, official sources have said.

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Unconfirmed media reports said between 10 and 20 drones could have attacked the airport. Russia’s Tass news agency reported that airspace above Moscow’s Vnukovo airport has also been closed.

Ukraine has not said it was behind the latest attacks. However, it rarely comments on attacks inside Russia.

Drones were also reportedly shot down over Moscow, Oryol, Bryansk, Ryazan and Kaluga. And Russian-installed officials in the annexed Crimea also reported that they repelled an attack of drones targeting the harbour of the port city of Sevastopol, the Associated Press reports.

Moscow-appointed governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozzhayev said it wasn’t immediately clear how many of the drones have been destroyed. It wasn’t immediately clear if the attack caused any damage.

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But the dual-use military airfield at Pskov has now been closed after a Ukrainian drone attack destroyed four Il-76 aircraft, Russian state media claimed.

The multi-purpose, fixed-wing, four-engine turbofan strategic transport planes are used to deliver heavy machinery to remote, poorly served areas. It came just days after a flagship Russian long-range bomber was destroyed by a drone strike near St Petersburg.

Pskov Governor Mikhail Vedernikov was near the scene of the latest attack and uploaded a video to his Telegram channel showing smoke and flames rising from the site. No casualties were reported in the attack.

Vedernikov said: “The defence ministry is repelling a drone attack on Pskov’s airport.” However, footage and images shared on social media showed smoke billowing over the city.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Tass news agency reports that a drone was “destroyed” in the Ruzsky district of the Moscow region. Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Telegram: “Tonight, an attempt was made to mass attack drones in the Central Federal District.

“One of the UAVs heading for Moscow was destroyed by air defense forces in the Ruzsky district. There were no preliminary casualties and no damage.”

The attack happened at around 2.30am Moscow time, Russia’s defence forces said on Telegram. Russias military also said it had shot downed three drones over the southern region of Bryansk and one over the central region of Oryol.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously said that attacks on Russian territory are an “inevitable, natural and absolutely fair process”. In recent weeks, Ukraine is believed to have increased its use of explosive drones to attack targets inside Russia.

Former Nato official Edward Hunter-Christie has said the attacks prove “the air war is now genuinely mutual”.

He tweeted: “It is a long night. But to think that the air war is now genuinely mutual, and on the Ukrainian side based solely on Ukrainian-made systems, is extraordinary. Russia has lost the initiative and the ability to shape events in every domain. Ukraine is gaining both, in all domains.”

However, Russia also claims to have had some military success through the night. It claims its forces destroyed four rapid Ukrainian boats carrying a total of about 50 soldiers in an operation on the Black Sea around midnight Moscow time (21:00 GMT). Ukraine has not yet commented on the claim.

And , Kyiv City Military Administration Head Serhii Popko said Russian forces attacked Kyiv through the night, killing two people and injuring a third. Popko said two people were killed after debris fell from a building.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko had earlier reported that explosions had been heard in Kyiv and that emergency services had been called to the Shevchenkivskyi district of the city.

He wrote on Telegram: “In the Darnytskyi district, debris fell on the roof of a commercial premises. In Shevchenkivskyi – also falling debris. All services follow in place. Medics went to calls at two addresses in Shevchenkivskyi district. Details – later.”

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