Ukraine Claims at Least Six Russian Planes Destroyed in Drone Attack

Ukraine said Friday that it had destroyed at least six Russian military planes at a Russian airbase, as the head of an eastern Ukrainian town said it was under “constant fire” by advancing Russian troops.

Kyiv launched one of its largest overnight attacks in weeks, firing more than 50 drones at Russian territory, according to Russia’s defense ministry.

A security source in Kyiv told AFP that an attack on the Morozovsk air base in Russia’s southern Rostov region had destroyed at least six Russian planes and “another eight were heavily damaged.”

“This is an important special operation that will significantly reduce the combat potential of the Russians,” the source said, adding that the attack was carried out by the SBU security service and the military.

There was no immediate response from Moscow, and AFP was unable to verify the claims.

Russia said 44 of the 53 drones Kyiv fired overnight targeted the southern Rostov region, which sits just across the border from Ukraine and is home to a number of major military sites, including its command headquarters for the offensive.

Rostov governor Vasily Golubev said on Friday that several investigators were injured while inspecting a drone that had been downed near the air base.

“In the Morozovsk district, not far from the airfield, an explosive device in one of the downed drones detonated around noon, injuring eight people according to preliminary data,” he said in a post on Telegram.

He had earlier said the wave of overnight attacks had caused only “insignificant damage” to a power station and had blown out windows in an apartment building.

Russia rarely comments on Ukrainian claims of successful strikes.

‘Constant Fire’

On the frontlines in the east, Russian forces are advancing towards the Ukrainian town of Chasiv Yar in the eastern Donetsk region, which appears to be their next major target.

Russian forces have recently secured their first territorial gains in almost a year and are seeking to press their advantage in both weapons and manpower amid delays to vital Western aid for Kyiv.

“The town has become even more dangerous,” head of the Chasiv Yar military administration Sergiy Chaus told AFP on Friday during an interview in the nearby city of Kramatorsk.

“If before there were moments when you could hear silence in the town, now there is no silence … There is constant fire,” he said.

Both Ukrainian and Russian military bloggers with links to the armed forces said Friday that Russian troops had reached the outskirts of the town.

Chaus declined to comment on those reports.

Chasiv Yar sits a few kilometers west of Bakhmut, which was flattened by months of artillery fire before it was captured by Russian forces last May.

Around 770 people have stayed in Chasiv Yar, Chaus said, even as the Russian attacks have intensified in recent weeks.

“There is not a single building left intact in the city,” Chaus said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had said Thursday that his forces had “managed to stabilise our positions” and had halted Russian advances despite a “shortage of shells and a significant slowdown in supplies.”

Aerial Escalation

With its troops on the defensive on the battlefield, Kyiv has stepped up its aerial attacks on Russian territory, targeting both military sites and energy facilities in a bid to disrupt Russia’s supply of fuel and equipment for its invasion.

Other Ukrainian drone attacks in the early hours of Friday targeted the Belgorod and Kursk border regions, as well as Saratov and Krasnodar.

In Saratov, the governor said a drone had targeted Engels, a city around 500 kilometers (300 miles) from the border that is home to a major Russian air base that has previously been hit.

Ukraine’s air force meanwhile said Russia launched five missiles and 13 drones at its territory overnight.

Kyiv said it downed the 13 drones but did not say anything about the missiles, which targeted the northeastern Kharkiv region.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian drones hit the central Tatarstan region — around 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) from the countries’ shared border — in one of the deepest Ukrainian attacks of the two-year war.

Kyiv said the strike hit a major oil refinery and a factory assembling explosive drones.

Related Articles

Back to top button