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14 Jul, 2023 01:51

Drone crashes in Russian ‘atomic city’ – governor

There were no injuries or damage to critical infrastructure resulting from the incident in Kurchatov, Roman Starovoyt says
Drone crashes in Russian ‘atomic city’ – governor

A drone went down and exploded early on Friday in the Russian city of Kurchatov, an industrial hub adjacent to the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant, the governor of Kursk Region has said.

“Fortunately, none of the residents were hurt. Critical facilities weren’t damaged,” Roman Starovoyt wrote on his Telegram channel.

The explosion caused minor damage to the facade of an apartment bloc, while shattering some windows, the official said, adding that his administration will help residents to carry out repairs.

Earlier, several Telegram channels reported a loud explosion in Kurchatov. Videos from the scene also captured locals finding what appear to be parts of a drone on the ground.

The city of Kurchatov is located in Kursk Region, which shares a border with Ukraine. It was founded in the late 1960s and named after physicist Sergey Kurchatov, dubbed the “father” of the Soviet atomic bomb.

The Kursk Nuclear Power Plant sits roughly 4 kilometers (2.4 miles) outside urban areas in Kurchatov. The Energotex company, which makes equipment for nuclear reactors, is also based in the city, home to 40,000 people.

A “powerful explosion” was also reported by local media overnight in the city of Voronezh, the capital of the region to the east of Kursk.

On Friday morning, the governor of Voronezh Region, Aleksandr Gusev, said air defenses had destroyed three incoming drones several kilometers outside the city. “There are no fatalities, injuries or destruction,” he wrote.

The Russian border regions of Kursk, Bryansk and Belgorod have been frequently shelled by artillery and attacked by drones since Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. Russian officials have accused Kiev of plotting acts of sabotage targeting the country’s major infrastructure sites, including nuclear power plants.

In early May, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said it had intercepted a Ukrainian saboteur group planning a terrorist operation against nuclear power plants in the Leningrad and Tver Regions.

The suspects were aiming to destroy more than 30 pylons bearing high-voltage lines linked to the nuclear power stations, in order to cause a shutdown of the reactors, the agency said. Two Ukrainian citizens were arrested, while another, who is believed to be in Belgium, was placed on the wanted list over the plot, according to the FSB.