Russia reports more drone attacks as satellite photos indicate earlier barrage destroyed 2 aircraft

by Ryan Lee
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Russia-Turkey Meeting

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to hold discussions with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the resort town of Sochi on Monday, as confirmed by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday. This development comes after a period of speculation regarding the timing and location of the anticipated meeting between the two leaders. Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov engaged in talks with his Turkish counterpart in Moscow.

This is a breaking news update. The previous story by AP is provided below.

Russian authorities announced on Friday that their air defense systems successfully intercepted drones that were headed towards three of the country’s western regions. Concurrently, satellite imagery has indicated that a significant drone barrage conducted earlier in the week resulted in the destruction of at least two Ilyushin Il-76 military transport planes stationed at a Russian air base.

Regional governors have disclosed that the defense mechanisms were able to thwart the progress of three drones in the Kursk, Belgorod, and Moscow regions. Although Moscow’s airports experienced a brief suspension of flight operations, no significant harm or casualties were reported, as stated by Russian officials.

These drone attacks—attributed by Moscow to Ukraine—have become an almost daily occurrence amid the ongoing war, which has now extended into its 19th month, with Kyiv’s forces engaged in a counteroffensive. Notably, these drone incidents have managed to reach deeper into Russian territory.

Kyiv authorities generally refrain from claiming or disavowing responsibility for attacks that target Russian soil. The underlying strategy appears to involve unsettling Russia while exerting pressure on President Vladimir Putin.

As of now, it remains unclear whether the launched drones originate from within Ukraine or are launched from within Russian borders. In parallel, analysis of satellite images conducted by AP reveals that suspected Ukrainian drone attacks late on Tuesday led to the destruction of at least two Ilyushin Il-76 military transport planes stationed at a Russian air base.

The imagery captured on Thursday depicts the Princess Olga Pskov International Airport—a dual-purpose military-civilian airport situated approximately 700 kilometers (400 miles) north of the Ukrainian border, in close proximity to Estonia and Latvia.

The four-engine Il-76 aircraft stands as a cornerstone of the Russian military’s airlift capacity, equipped to handle takeoffs and landings in challenging terrains. It is estimated that the Russian military maintains a fleet of over 100 such aircraft.

The AP analysis conducted on Friday highlights what appears to be the charred remnants of two Il-76s on separate parking pads within the air base’s apron. One of these fragments includes the aircraft’s tail section, while the other showcases components of another aircraft, with evident signs of fire damage in the vicinity.

Subsequently, eleven other Il-76s were repositioned from their original parking pads to various positions on the airport’s taxiways, presumably in a bid to reduce their vulnerability to future strikes. One of these aircraft was positioned on the runway itself, while another remained on its original pad, though the rationale behind this choice remains unclear.

Local reports indicate that Ukrainian drone attacks inflicted damage on four Il-76s stationed at the air base.

The satellite image, captured at 1303 GMT on Thursday, serves as a snapshot of the situation. Social media videos from Thursday night depicted anti-aircraft fire surrounding the air base, though it remains uncertain whether this marked another attack.

The Pskov air base was initially targeted on Tuesday night, although cloud cover hindered the ability of satellites to capture an unobstructed view.

On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that his country had developed a weapon capable of striking targets situated 700 kilometers (400 miles) away, ostensibly referring to the attack on the air base. Zelenskyy attributed the development of this weapon to Ukraine’s Ministry of Strategic Industries, but refrained from providing further specifics.

Over the past year, the Kremlin’s forces have directed numerous waves of drone attacks, utilizing Iranian-made exploding drones, towards Ukraine in the context of the ongoing conflict.

Contributions to this report were made by Jon Gambrell, a writer for Big Big News, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Stay updated on the Ukraine conflict through AP’s coverage at https://bigbignews.net/russia-ukraine

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ukraine Conflict Drone Attacks

What is the significance of the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan?

The meeting between Putin and Erdogan holds immense significance as it follows a period of speculation and uncertainty. The two leaders are coming together amid heightened tensions and escalating conflicts in the region, offering a platform for diplomatic discussions and potential resolutions.

What were the recent drone attacks mentioned in the text?

The text reports on a series of drone attacks targeting a Russian air base. Ukrainian forces, allegedly responsible for these attacks, have engaged in a counteroffensive against Russian aggression. The attacks have become increasingly frequent and pose a significant challenge to Russian defenses.

How has the conflict between Ukraine and Russia evolved?

The conflict has endured for 19 months, marked by a counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces against Russian aggression. Drone attacks, like the ones detailed in the text, have escalated the conflict, deepening the penetration of strikes into Russian territory and adding to the complexity of the situation.

What is the role of satellite imagery in this context?

Satellite imagery serves as a crucial tool for analyzing the aftermath of the drone attacks. In this case, the images provide evidence of the destruction of military aircraft and shed light on the extent of the damage. They play a pivotal role in verifying and documenting the incidents.

How is Ukraine contributing to the escalation of tensions?

Ukraine’s strategy involves conducting drone attacks on Russian soil, ostensibly to unnerve Russia and exert pressure on President Putin. By targeting strategic assets such as military aircraft, Ukraine aims to disrupt Russian military operations and achieve its own geopolitical goals.

What is the implication of the newly developed Ukrainian weapon?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced the development of a weapon capable of hitting targets over a considerable distance. This development underscores Ukraine’s commitment to advancing its military capabilities, potentially altering the dynamics of the conflict and the balance of power in the region.

What impact have the drone attacks had on the Russian military base?

The drone attacks have inflicted significant damage on the Russian military base, particularly on the Ilyushin Il-76 military transport planes. The destruction of these aircraft hampers Russia’s airlift capacity, affecting their ability to swiftly deploy troops and resources.

How is the international community responding to these developments?

The text does not explicitly mention the international community’s response. However, given the gravity of the situation, it is likely that neighboring countries, global powers, and international organizations are closely monitoring the conflict and exploring diplomatic avenues to de-escalate tensions and promote stability.

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