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Russia 'thwarts' Ukraine drone attack on Moscow region

By AFP - Aug 20,2023 - Last updated at Aug 20,2023

A member of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine collects unexploded ammunition from World War II and the current Russian invasion to detonate them, during a clearance patrol near the village of Zolochiv, Kharkiv Region, on Friday (AFP photo)

KYIV, Ukraine — Russia said it thwarted Ukrainian drone attacks on Moscow and its region on Sunday, a day after a "heinous" missile strike killed seven people and wounded 148 in Ukraine's Chernihiv.

Both sides have reported regular drone incursions during the conflict, with strikes on Russian territory becoming increasingly regular.

"At around 4:00am (0100 GMT), an attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack by drone on infrastructure in Moscow and the Moscow region was thwarted," the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

The Moscow-bound drone was destroyed by "electronic warfare" and crashed into an uninhabited area after losing control, the ministry added, reporting no victims or damage.

Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin thanked Russia's military for their work on the Telegram messaging app.

Aviation agency Rosaviatsia said flights to the Domodedovo and Vnukovo international airports were "temporarily limited" at night before returning to normal, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

A Ukrainian drone raid also hit a railway station in the western Russian city of Kursk, injuring five people, the regional governor said early Sunday.

In the southern region of Rostov that borders Ukraine, Russian air defence intercepted two Ukrainian drones, the governor said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed “a tangible answer” to Saturday’s attack on the northern city of Chernihiv, which came during the Orthodox holiday of the Transfiguration of the Lord as some attended morning church services.

Vyacheslav Chaus, governor of the Chernihiv region, announced “7 people dead, 148 people received injuries” in an update on Sunday.

“41 people remain in hospitals. 15 people underwent surgeries,” he said in a post on Telegram, adding that “more than 500 homes suffered damage”.

Zelensky had noted the dead included a six-year-old girl and that there were 15 children among the wounded.

Denise Brown, UN humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, said it was “heinous to attack the main square of a large city, in the morning, while people are out walking, some going to church to celebrate a religious day for many Ukrainians”.


Zelensky in Sweden 


Chernihiv, 150 kilometres north of Kyiv towards Belarus, had largely been spared from major attacks since the first months of Russia’s invasion as fierce fighting rages in the east and south.

The Russian army marched through the city when it invaded Ukraine through Belarus in February 2022, before being repelled by Kyiv’s forces. 

Zelensky was in Sweden for talks with Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Saturday as Kyiv seeks more weapons from Western allies during a counteroffensive.

The leaders finalised the production of CV90 armoured vehicles in Ukraine and Ukrainian pilots participating in test trials of Swedish Gripen fighter jets, Zelensky said in his evening address.

“Everything powerful that serves us now, we must localise and produce,” he added.

Ukraine launched its widely expected counteroffensive in June but has come up against fierce resistance from entrenched Russian forces.

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