After a wave of drone attacks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has directed officials to tighten border controls with Ukraine, posing a new challenge to Moscow a year after it invaded its neighbor.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, one drone crashed on Tuesday just 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Moscow, and two others were brought down in southern Russia.
Authorities also closed the airspace over St Petersburg, Russia’s northernmost city, in response to what some reports said was a drone, while several Russian television stations broadcast a missile attack warning that officials blamed on hacking.
There were no casualties reported.
“As for the incident involving the crash of a UAV in the Kolomna district… the target was most likely a civilian infrastructure facility, which was not damaged,” Moscow regional governor Andrei Vorobyov said in a statement, referring to unmanned aerial vehicles.
“On the ground, there are no casualties or damage. The FSB (security services) and other appropriate authorities are looking into it,” Vorobyov added.
Officials have not said what equipment may have been the target, but the drone’s crash site is close to a complex run by Russian oil giant Gazprom.
Officials from Ukraine have not directly accepted responsibility for any of the attacks, but they have also refrained from doing so for earlier attacks and acts of sabotage.
No drone damages
Photos of the drone revealed that it was a model built in Ukraine. Although having a range of up to 800km (almost 500 miles), it cannot carry a significant number of explosives.
A Ukrainian drone was shot down by Russian forces early on Tuesday above Bryansk, according to the governor Alexander Bogomaz. No one was hurt, he claimed, in the incident, which happened not far from the border between Belarus and Ukraine.
Three drones were also claimed to have targeted the Russian province of Belgorod, which borders Ukraine, on Monday night, according to local authorities. Belgorod’s capital, which is also called Belgorod, is located around 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Kharkiv in Ukraine. The drones, according to governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, caused minor damage to vehicles and structures but no injuries.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Ukraine attacked Krasnodar and the neighboring Adygea region’s infrastructure using drones. It said that electronic warfare tools brought down the drones, adding that one of them fell into a field while the other veered off course and missed the target infrastructure facility.
Moscow has charged Ukraine with orchestrating a number of drone assaults against Russian military installations located within the nation, including those in Belgorod and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.
In December, Moscow claimed to have shot down six drones close to Engels, a base for tactical Russian aircraft hundreds of kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
The Russian defense ministry and one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s homes seemed to have Pantsir defense systems installed in photos taken in January, but the Kremlin declined to comment.