Russian defense thwarts eight Ukrainian drone attacks in western Russia

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Moscow said Friday it had destroyed eight Ukrainian drones in western Russia, following a deadly Russian strike on a village across the frontline.

The Russian defense ministry said the attempted drone attacks on Belgorod and Kursk took place late Thursday.

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“Kyiv regime’s attempt to carry out a terrorist attack by an aircraft-type UAV on objects on the territory of the Russian Federation was thwarted,” it said on Telegram.

It said one drone was destroyed over Kursk at around 8:30 pm (1730 GMT), and seven were shot down over Belgorod and the surrounding region a few hours later.

Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov initially spoke of six drone strikes in his region, saying on Telegram that “according to preliminary data, no victims.”

“Operational services are clarifying information about the consequences on the ground,” he wrote.

Since Ukraine launched its counter-offensive in June, Russia has weathered waves of drone attacks that have sporadically damaged buildings, including in Moscow.

Russian officials have downplayed their significance.

On Wednesday, Russia said it downed 31 Ukrainian drones in the same region, as well as in Bryansk, further north.

Friday’s announcements came after a Russian strike killed at least 51 people gathered for a wake in a Ukrainian village on Thursday, in an attack described by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as “absolute evil.”

The village of 330 people is around 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the frontline town of Kupiansk, an area Russian forces have been pushing to recapture after they lost territory to Ukrainian troops last year.

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