Putin orders tightening of Ukraine border as drones hit Russia

One drone crashed 100 km from Moscow on Tuesday, according to the regional governor.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered officials to tighten control of the border with Ukraine after a spate of drone attacks that Russian authorities blamed on Kyiv delivered a new challenge to Moscow a year after its full-scale invasion of its neighbour.

One drone crashed on Tuesday just 100km (60 miles) southeast of Moscow in an alarming development for Russian defences.

While Putin didn’t refer to any specific attacks in a speech in the Russian capital, he stepped up border controls hours after drone attacks targeted several areas in southern and western Russia and authorities closed the airspace over St Petersburg in response to what some reports said was a drone.

Also on Tuesday, several Russian television stations aired a missile attack warning that officials blamed on hacking.

(Al Jazeera)

The drone attacks caused no casualties but provoked a security stir after the war in Ukraine marked its first anniversary last week.

Ukrainian officials did not immediately claim responsibility for the attacks, but they similarly avoided directly acknowledging responsibility for previous strikes and sabotage while emphasising Kyiv’s right to hit any target in Russia after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

No drone damage

A flurry of drone attacks on Monday night and Tuesday morning targeted regions inside Russia along the border with Ukraine and deeper into the country, according to local Russian authorities.

A drone fell near the village of Gubastovo, 100km (60 miles) southeast of Moscow, Andrei Vorobyov, governor of the region surrounding the Russian capital, said in a statement.

The drone didn’t inflict any damage, Vorobyov said. He didn’t describe the drone as Ukrainian but said it likely targeted “a civilian infrastructure object”.

Pictures of the drone showed it was a Ukrainian-made type. It reportedly has a range of up to 800km (nearly 500 miles) but isn’t capable of carrying a large load of explosives.

Russian forces early on Tuesday shot down a Ukrainian drone over the southwestern region of Bryansk, Governor Aleksandr Bogomaz said in a Telegram post. He said there were no casualties in the incident not far from the Ukrainian and Belarusian borders.

Local authorities reported that three drones also targeted Russia’s Belgorod region on Ukraine’s border on Monday night with one flying through an apartment window in its capital, also called Belgorod. It is 80km (50 miles) north of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said the drones caused minor damage to buildings and cars but no casualties.

The Russian Ministry of Defence said Ukraine used drones to attack facilities in the southern region of Krasnodar and neighbouring Adygea. It said the drones were brought down by electronic warfare assets, adding that one crashed into a field and another diverted from its designated flight path and missed an infrastructure facility it was supposed to attack.