Russia says it downs 50 Ukrainian drones overnight, two civilians killed


  • World
  • Saturday, 20 Apr 2024

MOSCOW (Reuters) -The Russian defence ministry said on Saturday its air defence intercepted and destroyed 50 Ukrainian drones overnight, repelling one of the largest such attacks on Russia during the conflict in Ukraine.

Russian officials said two civilians were killed and a fuel depot was set ablaze during the attacks.

The ministry said 26 drones were downed in the Belgorod region, 10 in Bryansk, eight in Kursk, two in Tula, as well as one drone in each of the regions of Smolensk, Ryazan, Kaluga and Moscow.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia's Belgorod region which borders Ukraine, said two civilians were killed as the result of a drone attack.

He later said a pregnant woman and her unborn child separately died in a hospital from wounds suffered when after Ukraine shelled the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka in the Shebekino district.

Russia's Kursk regional governor Roman Starovoit said on the Telegram app that the village of Tyotkino, which has been frequently subjected to shelling, was attacked with cluster munitions. No one was injured.

A Ukrainian intelligence source told Reuters that Ukraine had conducted a large-scale drone attack overnight, targeting energy facilities supporting Russian military-industrial production.

Ukraine does not officially confirm or deny it attacks refineries inside Russia, but says the facilities are legitimate targets which aid the Russian military effort.

Russia says the Ukrainian drone attacks amount to terrorism.

FUEL DEPOT SET ABLAZE

The governor of Russia's western region of Smolensk said a Ukrainian drone hit a fuel depot overnight, setting it on fire, while an attack on the regional centre had been repelled.

There are no large oil refineries in the Smolensk region.

The governor, Vasily Anokhin, said on his Telegram messaging app that the drone attacked a fuel-energy facility in the Kardym region at 2 a.m. (2300 GMT on Friday), hitting a reservoir with fuel and oil lubricants. The firefighters were tackling the blaze, he added.

"As a result of the work of the air defence forces, the aircraft were shot down. However, as a result of falling debris, a tank with fuel and oil lubricants caught fire," he said.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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