More Ukrainian Drones Attack Russia After Planes Hit on Airfield

By Reuters
August 30, 2023Russia–Ukraine War

Ukrainian drones attacked more targets in Russia late on Wednesday, a night after drones struck at least six regions deep within Russia.

One of the drone strikes, targeting an airfield far from Ukraine’s borders, destroyed military transport planes on the ground.

In a separate incident, Ukraine’s military said six of its servicemen had died on Tuesday in the crash of two helicopters near Bakhmut in the east of the country. It gave no details of what happened, but said all the men were officers.

Late on Wednesday, Russia said its anti-aircraft units had downed two Ukrainian drones in its southern Bryansk region. The head of Crimea said a Ukrainian cruise missile had been intercepted there.

The previous night, Russian officials described attacks on Bryansk and five other regions, including Moscow region, and Pskov in the north, where four military transport planes were damaged in a huge blaze at an airfield.

The Russian foreign ministry said the attacks would “not go unpunished” and the drones could not have reached so far into Russian territory without Western help.

The attacks coincided with Russia’s most severe air strikes on Ukraine’s capital for months. Authorities in Kyiv reported at least two people had been killed as debris from intercepted missiles fell in four locations.

Sirens and Explosions at Air Base

In Russia, the governor of Pskov posted video on Telegram showing a huge fire with the sounds of sirens and an explosion at the air base. Other video posted online showed anti-aircraft systems in action around the city, 32 km (20 miles) east of Russia’s border with NATO-member Estonia.

Moscow said it had thwarted all the attacks.

NTD Photo
Rescuers work at a site of buildings damaged in the night by Russian drone and missiles strike in Kyiv region, Ukraine, on Aug. 30, 2023. (Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via Reuters)

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was working out where the drones were launched from to prevent further strikes. President Vladimir Putin had been informed immediately, as would be the case in any such “massive attacks,” Mr. Peskov said.

The Kyiv government confirmed the Russian planes had been destroyed in Pskov, without commenting on the nature of their destruction.

Ukrainian forces have been conducting an offensive for nearly three months. They have yet to achieve a breakthrough of Russia’s mined and fortified defences, although they said this week they had penetrated the first main defensive line.

Military spokesman Andriy Kovalyov claimed on national television on Thursday that Ukrainian forces were making progress in the east, near Bakhmut, and in the Melitopol sector, where they are trying to move southward to the Sea of Azov.

Russian military accounts spoke of forces repelling five attempted Ukrainian advances in the east.

On the outskirts of St Petersburg, followers of Yevgeny Prigozhin, boss of Russia’s Wagner private army, paid tribute at a leafy cemetery where he was buried six days after being killed in a plane crash.

The Kremlin said foul play was one of the causes being investigated for the crash.

“It is obvious that different versions are being considered, including the version—you know what we are talking about—let’s say, a deliberate atrocity,” spokesman Mr. Peskov said.

Mr. Prigozhin, two top Wagner lieutenants and four bodyguards were among 10 people who died when his private jet crashed on Aug. 23, two months after Wagner marched on Moscow in a brief mutiny.

The Kremlin has rejected as an “absolute lie” Western suggestions that Mr. Putin was responsible.

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