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29 Aug, 2023 21:21

Drones attack airport in Russian city near NATO border – governor

Multiple unmanned aircraft have targeted Pskov airport, close to two EU countries
Drones attack airport in Russian city near NATO border – governor

The Russian city of Pskov, near the territories of NATO members Estonia and Latvia, came under attack by a swarm of drones in the early hours of Wednesday.

The regional governor confirmed the raid, while videos showing an explosion and air defenses lighting up the night sky made the rounds on social media.

The Russian military is “repelling a drone attack” on Pskov airport, regional Governor Mikhail Vedernikov confirmed on Telegram, adding that he was on site “since the start of the incident.”

“Initial information says there were no casualties. We are working to assess property damage,” Vedernikov added.

Russian authorities have briefly closed the airspace in the region, while Pskov airport cancelled all flights on August 30 to assess potential damage to the runway.

Emergency services told TASS that four Il-76 transport planes were damaged on the ground, but the military has yet to confirm these reports.

According to several Russian Telegram channels, over a dozen drones targeted the Pskov airport, and air defenses were engaging additional UAVs. Social media footage showed what looked like an explosion, accompanied by the sound of small arms fire.

The Russian outlet Readovka claimed that about 15 Ukrainian drones targeted the Pskov airport and were shot down, including with small arms fire. Something appeared to have crashed or exploded at the airport, and emergency services responded to the incident. There were no reports of casualties.

The Mash Telegram channel reported that one of the drones may have struck a fuel depot and set it on fire, causing “thick black smoke” to rise above the city.

Pskov is about 700 kilometers north of Ukraine, but only 30 kilometers from the Estonian border. Latvia is about 60 kilometers southwest. Both are NATO member states. To reach the city, drones launched from Ukraine would have to fly over eastern Belarus.

Ukraine has previously sent “drone swarms” at Crimea, where they were met with intense Russian air defenses. Groups of two to three UAVs also targeted the Moscow City trade center in the Russian capital, causing minor property damage and no casualties. The Kremlin has dismissed the attacks as a “nuisance” and an act of desperation, intended to distract from Kiev’s failures on the battlefield.