Moscow accuses Ukraine of multiple attempted drone strikes deep inside Russian territory

Jessie Yeung

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday accused Ukraine of launching a spate of attempted drone strikes targeting infrastructure deep inside Russia, including near the capital, after a fire broke out at an oil depot and authorities abruptly closed airspace above the country’s second-largest city.

Moscow region Gov. Andrey Vorobyov claimed a Ukrainian drone had crashed near the village of Gubastovo southeast of the capital. The drone was apparently aimed at what he called “civilian infrastructure,” later confirmed to be a gas facility operated by state-owned company Gazprom.

The facility remained undamaged, state media reported, citing the region’s Energy Ministry.

State media later posted a photograph of what it said was the crashed device, which appeared to resemble a Ukrainian-made UJ-22 attack drone.

The UJ-22 is relatively small and versatile, able to fly through poor weather and to travel up to 500 miles (800 kilometers). It’s unclear where or when the photo of the crashed drone was taken.

The crash was allegedly one of several attempted strikes, with state media reporting a drone was shot down near the Belarus border and the defense ministry claiming two more strikes were thwarted through the use of drone-jamming technology in the Krasnodar and Adygea regions.

“Both drones lost control and deviated from their flight path,” the ministry said in a statement. “One UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) fell in a field, and another UAV, deviating from the trajectory, did not harm the attacked civilian infrastructure facility.”

At least one drone appeared to have evaded Russian defenses, with footage posted on social media overnight and geolocated by CNN showing a fire at energy firm Rosneft’s oil depot in Tuapse, on Krasnodar’s Black Sea coast.

It’s unclear if the facility was the intended target, but Ukraine has previously targeted oil depots within Russian-controlled territory.

CNN is unable to independently confirm the claims for each alleged attack, and Ukraine did not immediately comment on the incident. Ukraine has previously declined to comment on attacks inside Russia.

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