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Russia hit by mass UAV offensive; 2 killed in Kyiv in rain of missiles, drones

Firefighters work at Pskov airport east of Moscow on Wednesday after drone strikes set military aircraft ablaze overnight. Photo courtesy of Pskov Governor/EPA-EFE
Firefighters work at Pskov airport east of Moscow on Wednesday after drone strikes set military aircraft ablaze overnight. Photo courtesy of Pskov Governor/EPA-EFE

Aug. 30 (UPI) -- At least six regions of Russia came under attack overnight Wednesday in the largest drone offensive against the country since the start of the war in early 2022, and Ukraine came under "massive" aerial bombardment from Russian missiles and UAVs.

Moscow, Oryol, Ryazan, Bryansk, Kaluga and Pskov were targeted by UAVs, and while authorities claimed to have intercepted most of the drones and that there were no injuries, there were airport closures and flight disruptions.

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Four Moscow airports were forced to suspend flights temporarily and one of the strikes on Pskov airport 425 miles east of Moscow set ablaze four IL-76 military cargo aircraft.

The Ukraine Defense Ministry confirmed four IL-76s had been destroyed and an unspecified number of others damaged, but without taking responsibility for the attack.

The airport would remain closed with all flights suspended pending clarification of "possible damage to the runway," said Pskov regional Gov. Mikhail Vedernikov.

A drone heading toward Moscow in the Ruza district was brought down by Russian air defenses, according to Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, while the defense ministry said the interception of three Ukrainian aircraft-type drones over the Bryansk region damaged an administrative building.

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A drone flying above the Oryol region south of Moscow was electronically jammed, another over the Kaluga region was brought down and two others targeting the Ryazan region were neutralized, with local authorities confirming the attacks. No injuries were immediately reported.

Russia accused Ukraine's Western partners of aiding and abetting the attacks and threatened retaliation.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the attacks would not have been possible without information from Western satellites, given how far the targeted territory was from Ukraine.

"The actions of the Ukrainian regime will not go unpunished," Zakharova said.

In Russian-occupied Crimea, Sevastopol was targeted by sea drones, according to the city's governor, who said the attack was unsuccessful, while the defense ministry claimed to have destroyed four high-speed Ukrainian special-ops boats in the Black Sea.

A navy fighter aircraft from Russia's Black Sea Fleet destroyed the boats as they were attempting to land at least 50 Ukrainian special forces, the ministry wrote in a social media post.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the two people killed were security guards after the capital was pummeled by the fiercest bombardment in several months as part of a broader assault that saw Russian forces launch 44 missiles and drones at targets across Ukraine.

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AFU Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zaluzhny said 28 Kh-101, Kh-555 and Kh-55 air-launched cruise missiles were fired from 11 Tu-95 strategic aircraft above the Caspian Sea and the Engels area, while 16 "Shahed-136/131" strike UAVs were launched from the south and the north.

"All 28 cruise missiles and 15 attack UAVs were destroyed by the forces and means of air defense of the Air Force in cooperation with the Air Defense Forces of the Defense Forces of Ukraine in Kyiv, Cherkasy, Odessa and Mykolaiv regions," Zaluzhny wrote on social media.

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