Ukrainian drone attacks sweep across six Russian regions

Ukrainian drone attacks sweep across six Russian regions

Ukrainian drones swept across Russia in overnight attacks that destroyed military aircraft and disrupted air traffic, Russian officials said early on Wednesday, hours after the funeral service for Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin. Attacks by unmanned aircraft were reported in Pskov, Bryansk, Kaluga, Orlov and Ryazan regions as well as the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula, Russian officials said. Tass news agency said four Russian transport planes were damaged at Pskov airport. Pskov is more than 600km away from Ukraine, near the border with Estonia. Follow our liveblog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

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04:45am: Explosions heard in Ukraine’s Kyiv 

Explosions were heard in Kyiv in the early hours of Wednesday, Mayor Vitali Klitschko wrote on the Telegram messaging app, and debris from targets destroyed by air defences damaged several buildings in the Ukrainian capital.

Klitschko said a store building and an administrative building were on fire and one person had been wounded by glass shards. He did not say whether the debris was from missiles or drones.

04:30am: 6 regions targeted in biggest drone attack on Russia since it sent troops to Ukraine, officials say

Russian officials accused Ukraine of targeting six Russian regions early Wednesday in what appeared to be the biggest drone attack on Russian soil since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine 18 months ago.

Drones hit an airport in the western Pskov region and started a massive fire there, the governor and local media reported. More drones were shot down over Oryol, Bryansk, Ryazan, Kaluga and the Moscow region surrounding the Russian capital, according to the Defense Ministry.

The strike in Pskov, which was first reported minutes before midnight, hit an airport in the region’s namesake capital and damaged four Il-76 transport aircraft, Russia’s state news agency Tass reported, citing emergency officials.

Pskov regional Gov. Mikhail Vedernikov ordered all flights to and from the airport canceled Wednesday so damage could be assessed during daylight.

Footage and images posted on social media showed smoke billowing over the city of Pskov and a large blaze. 

01:30am: Russian military says destroyed four Ukrainian vessels

Russia’s military, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said early on Wednesday that one of its aircraft had destroyed four rapid Ukrainian vessels carrying up to 50 paratroops in an operation on the Black Sea.

01:20am: Russian military says it downed four Ukrainian drones

Russia’s military, reporting on the Telegram messaging app, said early on Wednesday it had downed three Ukrainian drones over southern Bryansk region and one over central Orlov region.

12:50am Airspace closed briefly around Moscow’s Vnukovo airport -Tass

The airspace around Moscow’s Vnukovo airport was closed briefly early on Wednesday, Tass news agency quoted Russian aviation officials as saying.

The airport was reopened to air traffic.

The closure was ordered after officials said the military was repelling a drone attack on an airport in the western city of Pskov.

Tass news agency, quoting emergency services, said four Il-76 transport aircraft, long the workhorse of the Russian military, were damaged at the military airfield.

7:18pm: US announces new $250 million military assistance package for Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday announced a new package of military assistance to aid Ukraine.

The package includes additional mine clearing equipment, missiles for air defence, ammunition for artillery and high bar systems, and over 3 million rounds of small arms ammunition, Blinken said in a statement.

US announces new $250 million military assistance package for Ukraine

Key developments from Tuesday, August 29:

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba met his French counterpart, Catherine Colonna in Paris. 

The funeral of Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was killed in a plane crash last week, was held privately at a cemetery on the outskirts of his hometown St Petersburg, his press service said on Tuesday.

Russia on Tuesday handed 11-year jail terms to two exiled journalists accused of spreading misinformation about the military, pursuing a historic crackdown on criticism of the war in Ukraine.

Ukraine said Tuesday that its forces had pushed deeper into Russian defensive lines near the village of Robotyne, one day after claiming control over the village on the southern front.

Read yesterday’s liveblog to see how the day’s events unfolded.

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© France Médias Monde graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)