Moscow accuses Ukraine of attempting several drone strikes inside Russian territory

(CNN) accused the Russian Defense Ministry on Tuesday Ukraine launched a series of attempted drone strikes targeting infrastructure deep inside Russia, including near the capital, after a fire broke out at an oil depot and authorities suddenly closed the airspace over the country’s second-largest city.

Moscow region governor Andrei Vorobyov claimed that a Ukrainian drone crashed near the village of Gubastovo, southeast of the capital. The plane appeared to have been targeting what he called “civilian infrastructure”, which was later confirmed to be a gas facility operated by the state-owned company Gazprom.

State media, citing the energy ministry in the region, said the facility remained intact.

State media later published a photo of what it said was the wrecked device, which appeared to resemble a Ukrainian-made UJ-22 attack aircraft.

The UJ-22 is relatively small and versatile, capable of flying through bad weather and traveling up to 500 miles (800 km). It is unclear where or when the photo of the crashed drone was taken.

The incident was allegedly one of many attempted strikes, with state media reporting a downing of a drone near the Belarus border and the Defense Ministry claiming that two other strikes were thwarted by the use of drone jamming technology in the Krasnodar and Adygea regions.

“Both drones lost control and deviated from their flight path,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement. β€œOne (unmanned aerial vehicle) drone fell in a field, and another drone, which deviated from the course, did not harm the civilian infrastructure facility that was attacked.”

At least one drone appears to have evaded Russian defences, with footage posted on social media overnight and geolocated of a fire at energy company Rosneft’s oil depot in Tuapse, on Krasnodar’s Black Sea coast.

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It is unclear if the facility was the intended target, but Ukraine did Previously targeted oil depots within the territory controlled by Russia.

CNN cannot independently confirm allegations of each alleged attack, and Ukraine did not immediately comment on the incident. Ukraine has previously refused to comment on the attacks inside Russia.

In the wake of the alleged attacks, St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, closed its airspace on Tuesday to a radius of 200 kilometers (124 miles), briefly banning incoming flights, according to state media.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been briefed on the closures β€” but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to discuss whether it was related to “incidents in Saint Petersburg and Tuapse,” state media reported.

December strikes

The attacks targeting Russian infrastructure have focused attention on Ukraine’s efforts to develop long-range combat unmanned aircraft.

In early December, Russia was reported Multiple attacks by Ukrainian drones Targeting military infrastructure, including air bases located hundreds of miles inside Russian territory and beyond Ukraine Declared arsenal of unmanned aircraft.

Around the same time, Ukrainian state-owned arms manufacturer Ukroboronprom indicated that it was close to finishing work on a new long-range drone β€” though there was no public indication that such a device was ready for deployment or that it was implicated in explosions within it. Russia.

At the time, Ukraine’s defense ministry gave no comment on the strikes – although a presidential adviser tweeted a cryptic message hinting at the possibility that Kiev was indeed behind the December attacks.

“The earth is round – the discovery made by Galileo. Astronomy was not studied in the Kremlin, preference was given to court astrologers. If it were so, they would know: if something was launched into the airspace of other countries, sooner or later UFOs I will return to the starting point.”

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CNN’s Vasko Kotoviu, Ulyana Pavlova and Anna Chernova contributed to this report.

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