Russians angry at downing of Ukrainian drone over their homes

Service members inspect the accident scene following what Russia's Defence Ministry said to be the explosion of a halted Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in the town of Kireyevsk in the Tula region, Russia, March 27, 2023. REUTERS/REUTERS PHOTOGRAPHER

KIREYEVSK, Russia (Reuters) - Residents of the small Russian town of Kireyevsk expressed shock and anger on Monday that an alleged Ukrainian drone had been downed over their houses, bringing down roofs and ceilings and putting their lives in danger.

"It’s absolutely outrageous to shoot it down over a residential area. There's a field just 500 metres from here. They could have shot it down over there. Why over our houses? People were wounded," said Kireyevsk resident Elena, 35, who like some others declined to give her surname.

"What if the children had been at home? They would have been killed. Nobody gave it a thought. It was allowed to happen. They just don’t care. I have no other explanation."

Russia's Defence Ministry said on Sunday it had electronically disabled a Ukrainian drone, which veered off course and crashed onto Kireyevsk, a town of about 25,000 inhabitants 220 km (140 miles) south of Moscow.

A Reuters camera crew saw wrecked family houses with smashed tiled or corrugated iron roofs and mangled windows, although the main impact site was closed to media.

Emergency services said on Sunday there was a large blast crater. The state-run news agency TASS quoted local officials on Sunday as saying three people had been hurt, none seriously.

"We were used to seeing these things online, but now we've felt it ourselves. Now we know how it is," said Yuri Ovchinnikov, who was home with his wife at the moment of impact. "The whole house shook."

"I graduated from an aviation academy; my specialisation was aircraft control systems, so I know how it works. Why didn't they shoot it down, I wonder? They were caught napping. And they should be honest about it."

Seventy-year-old Svetlana sobbed as she contemplated a neighbour's narrow escape from the blast, and the damage to her own home: "We don’t know what to do. I walk into my house - the floors crack, the walls crack. I’m afraid to go in."

Kyiv did not respond to a request for comment. It usually withholds comment on reports of attacks inside Russia.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Kevin Liffey)

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