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This photo released by Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov's telegram channel shows broken and burned cars after reported Ukrainian shelling. Alamy Stock Photo

Russia says it downed wave of Ukrainian drones overnight

It comes ahead of a final day of a presidential vote set to extend Vladimir Putin’s rule until 2030.

RUSSIA HAS SAID it was targeted by a wave of Ukrainian drones overnight ahead of the final day of a presidential vote set to extend President Vladimir Putin’s rule for another six years.

The Russian Defence Ministry reported downing 35 Ukrainian drones overnight, including four in the Moscow region.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said there were no casualties or damage.

According to the ministry, another two drones were shot over the Kaluga region just south of the Russian capital and the Yaroslavl region north-east of Moscow.

The attacks in Yaroslavl, which is about 800 kilometres from the Ukrainian border, were some of the farthest launched by Ukraine so far.

More Ukrainian drones were downed over the Belgorod, Kursk and Rostov regions that border Ukraine and the southern Krasnodar region, the ministry added.

Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said the Ukrainian shelling killed a 16-year-old girl and injured her father.

A drone fell on a refinery in the Krasnodar region, sparking a blaze that was extinguished a few hours later, according to regional authorities. A worker at the refinery died of a heart attack, officials said.

Refineries and oil terminals have been key targets of Ukrainian drone attacks.

The attacks followed a series of other Ukrainian drone raids and other attacks over the past few days that Putin described as an attempt by Ukraine to frighten residents and derail Russia’s presidential election.

He said on Friday: “Those enemy strikes haven’t been and won’t be left unpunished. I’m sure that our people, the people of Russia, will respond to that with even greater cohesion.”

As the war entered a third year, Russian forces have made some slow and incremental gains along the front line, relying on their edge in firepower, while Ukraine has fought back with more drone attacks deep inside Russia and cross-border raids.

On Saturday, two people were killed and three others were injured in the Ukrainian shelling of the Russian border city of Belgorod which has faced regular attacks.

The Russian military also claimed it thwarted another attempted cross-border incursion by Ukrainian “sabotage and reconnaissance groups” on Saturday.

The Russian Volunteer Corps – which includes Russians fighting alongside Ukrainian forces – released a video on social media on Saturday alleging to have captured 25 Russian soldiers. The claim could not be independently verified.

Cross-border attacks in the area have taken place sporadically since the war began and have been the subject of claims and counterclaims, as well as disinformation and propaganda.

Press Association