Ukraine said Thursday that a mass drone offensive against at least six Russian regions earlier in the week originated from within Russia. Photo courtesy Psvok Governor/EPA-EFE
Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Ukraine's Defense Ministry said Friday that attack drones that destroyed two Russian military transport jets and damaged two others at an airfield in Pskov east of Moscow were launched from Russian territory.
Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said that Ukraine was engaged in operations on Russian soil.
"We are working from the territory of Russia," Budanov told a domestic media outlet without giving details about where or how many drones were used.
Budanov said the drones targeted the fuel tanks on the upper part of the aircraft and a key section of the wing spar that connects the wings to the fuselage.
It remains unclear whether Budanov was referring to Ukrainian intelligence operatives actually on the ground in Russia, or operations conducted with the assistance of Russians sympathetic to Kyiv but directed from Ukraine.
Budanov's admission, however, clears up confusion over whether the aircraft were actually hit by a long-range missile sparked by President Volodymyr Zelensky appearing to announce Ukraine had developed a home-grown long-range weapon in a social media post praising its effectiveness.
"Ministry of Strategic Industries reported on own production. Successful use of our long-range weapons: the target was hit at a distance of 434 miles," Zelensky wrote on Telegram on Tuesday.
Psvok is 434 miles north of the border with Ukraine.
At least five other regions of Russia, including Moscow, Oryol, Ryazan and Kaluga were targeted in a mass UAV offensive overnight Wednesday, the largest drone attack against the country since it invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
Despite authorities claiming to have intercepted most of the drones and that there were no injuries, travel was disrupted after airports, including four in Moscow, were forced to temporarily suspend flights.
The airport Psvok remains closed with all flights suspended pending clarification of "possible damage to the runway," according to regional governor Mikhail Vedernikov.