The Hamilton Spectator

Putin orders Ukraine border tightening

Several drones attack inside Russian territory, raising questions about Kremlin security

- SUSIE BLANN

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the border with Ukraine tightened Tuesday after several drones attacked inside Russian territory, including one that crashed just 100 kilometres from Moscow in an alarming developmen­t for Russian defences.

The drones caused no injuries, but raised questions about the Kremlin’s security more than a year after Russia’s full-scale invasion of its neighbour.

Moscow blamed Kyiv for the attacks. Ukrainian officials did not immediatel­y claim responsibi­lity, but they similarly avoided directly acknowledg­ing responsibi­lity for past strikes and sabotage while emphasizin­g Ukraine’s right to hit any target in Russia.

Although Putin did not refer to any specific attacks in a speech in the Russian capital, his comments came hours after the drones targeted several areas in southern and western Russia.

Authoritie­s closed the airspace over St. Petersburg in response to what some reports said was a drone.

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

The 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, 100 km from Moscow, Andrei Vorobyov, governor of the region surroundin­g the Russian capital, said in an online statement. The drone did not inflict any damage, Vorobyov said, but it likely targeted “a civilian infrastruc­ture object.”

Pictures of the drone showed it was a Ukrainian-made model with a reported range of up to 800 km, but no capacity to carry a large load of explosives.

Three drones also targeted Russia’s Belgorod region on Monday night, with one flying through an apartment window in its namesake capital, local authoritie­s reported.

Regional Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov said the drones caused minor damage to buildings and cars.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Ukraine used drones to attack facilities in the Krasnodar region and neighbouri­ng Adygea.

It said the drones were brought down by electronic warfare assets, adding that one of them crashed into a field and another diverted from its flight path and missed an infrastruc­ture facility it was supposed to attack.

While Ukrainian drone strikes on the Russian border regions of Bryansk and Belgorod are not unusual, the hits on the Krasnodar and Adygea regions further south were noteworthy.

Ukrainian officials did not immediatel­y claim responsibi­lity, but they similarly avoided direct responsibi­lity for past strikes

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