Drones shot down over Russian cities near Ukraine border in overnight attack

Russia’s air defence units have shot down two Ukrainian drones flying over Belgorod and Oryol oblasts as Kyiv increases the pace of its counteroffensive against Moscow’s invasion.

The drone attacks come as Ukraine overtook two key villages recently and has stepped up counter attacks on Russia. Drone and missile attacks deep inside Russia and on Russia-controlled territory have shot up drastically in recent months, with the Russian defence ministry blaming the “Kyiv regime” for what it calls “terrorist attacks”.

While Ukraine has seldom responded to accusations of attacks, it has expressed satisfaction at the destruction of Russian military infrastructure and critical military sites.

The drones were shot down at 10.30pm and 11.45pm local time on Tuesday night, the Russian defence ministry said in two separate posts on its Telegram channel on Wednesday. No immediate damage or casualties in the overnight attacks has been reported by the officials of both regions.

It said “an attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack by an aircraft-type UAV on objects on the territory of the Russian Federation was stopped”.

Kyiv has maintained that destroying Russian military infrastructure far away from the war’s frontlines targets Moscow’s war efforts while aiding Kyiv’s own efforts to reclaim land Russia has occupied.

Belgorod, roughly 40km away from the Ukrainian border, has witnessed a wave of attacks in the last two months, with the most seen this month.

In return, Russia has continued its campaign of air strikes and shelling across Ukraine.

The regional governor of Belgorod, Vyacheslav Gladkov, confirmed attacks every day on the territory, stating either unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) dropping ammunition payloads in the region or being shot down by Russia’s active air defences heavily concentrated in the bordering city.

A day earlier, Russia claimed its air defences shot down two unspecified aerial targets over Belgorod. The governor said initial reports indicated some damage to power lines but no casualties.

Last month, three people were killed in a drone attack in Belgorod after another drone had targeted central Moscow.