Putin orders increased border security after night of drone attacks as fighting in Ukraine intensifies
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered officials on Tuesday to tighten up Russia’s borders after the country saw a series of overnight drone strikes that allegedly targeted oil depots.
In what appeared to be three separate attacks, Russia saw at least two strikes in its southern regions north of Georgia, as well as outside Moscow.
Russia’s RIA reported that one drone “crashed” near a gas distribution facility roughly 60 miles outside of Moscow. While nothing was hit and no injuries were reported following the incident, the regional governor said a “civilian infrastructure facility” was likely the target.
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It is unclear why the drone did not reach its target, and Russian reports did not suggest the aerial object was downed by Russian forces.
A separate incident was reported in Tuapse in southern Russia, less than 200 miles from the Crimean Bridge that connects Russia to occupied Ukraine, after explosions were reported and a fire broke out at an oil plant.
Russian state-owned media reported the incident as a drone attack.
Authorities said they did not believe there was an ongoing threat though pictures posted to Russian media showed what appeared to be significant damage to the oil plant.
A third “unidentified aircraft crashed” into a farm building just east of Tuapse, but the target of the strike was not made clear.
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Ukrainian news outlet Pravda further reported that a “large-scale fire” erupted in the Temryutsky district, 25 miles east of the Crimean Bridge which was attacked in October, following an “arson” incident, but details on the fire remain unclear.
Putin did not reference any of the overnight attacks Tuesday, but instead called on officials to tighten up border security.
Ukraine has not taken responsibility for the drone strikes, though Kyiv has previously said it reserves the right to strike Russia across its borders as Putin continues his brutal campaign in Ukraine.
Fighting has once again intensified in eastern Ukraine as Russian forces, particularly Wagner Group mercenaries, look to take Bakhmut after months of stalled efforts.
Reports on Tuesday said Russian forces were attempting to choke Ukrainian troops in the Donetsk city by employing a similar tactic used in Soledar last month when they encircled the town.
Russia has yet to take the city that Ukrainian soldiers have described as being in ruins and “on fire” after more than four months of a brutal ground war have persisted.
Ukrainian Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi said Russia is taking heavy losses as it continues to throw men into the fray as Moscow looks to make its first significant achievement in Ukraine in more than six months.
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“Despite significant losses, the enemy threw in the most prepared assault units of Wagner, who are trying to break through the defenses of our troops and surround the city,” the colonel general said Tuesday according to Reuters.
Ukrainian forces have not begun withdrawing from their trenches in the area despite Russia’s air and ground assault.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.