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Russia thwarts flurry of drone attacks, says warplane damaged at airfield


MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia’s Defence Ministry reported a flurry of Ukrainian drone attacks on Saturday targeting the regions of Moscow, Novgorod to the northwest of the Russian capital, and Belgorod that borders Ukraine.

It said nobody was hurt in the attacks but said the drone targeting the Novgorod region had damaged a warplane and caused a fire at a military airfield. The Novgorod region lies hundreds of km (miles) from Russia’s border with Ukraine.

“As a result of the terrorist attack on the territory of the airfield, a fire broke out in the parking lot of aircraft, which was quickly eliminated by fire fighters. One aircraft was damaged,” the ministry said in a statement.

It later reported that air defence forces had jammed an aircraft-type drone on the northwestern outskirts of Moscow, forcing it to crash near the settlement of Putilkovo.

Drone air strikes deep inside Russia have increased in recent months. One smashed into a building in central Moscow on Friday after Russian air defences shot it down, disrupting air traffic at all civilian airports of the Russian capital.

The Defence Ministry also reported a thwarted attack by an aircraft-type drone on Saturday in the Belgorod region, which now sees such incidents on an almost daily basis. It caused no casualties or damage, the ministry added.

Overnight, Russia’s air defence forces also shot down a Ukraine-launched missile over the Crimean peninsula, the Defence Ministry said earlier. Crimea, annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014, has also seen a surge in drone and missile attacks.

Ukraine typically does not comment on who is behind attacks on Russian territory or Crimea, although officials have publicly expressed satisfaction over them.

(Reporting by ReutersWriting by Gareth JonesEditing by Frances Kerry and Tomasz Janowski)

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