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Russia-Ukraine war: Moscow says 50 Ukrainian drones shot down

kyiv, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine launched a barrage of drones across Russia overnight, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said Saturday, in attacks that appeared to target the country. energy infrastructure.

Fifty drones were shot down by air defenses over eight Russian regions, including 26 over the western Belgorod region, close to the Ukrainian border. Two people – a woman with a broken leg and the man who cared for her – died during the nighttime barrage, after explosions ignited a fire that burned down their house, Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on social networks.

A pregnant woman and her unborn child were also killed in shelling later Saturday, it said.

Drones were also reportedly destroyed over the Bryansk, Kursk, Tula, Smolensk, Ryazan and Kaluga regions in western and southern Russia, as well as in the Moscow region.

The Russian Defense Ministry says it has shot down a Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet. He provided no details and the claims could not be independently verified.

Ukrainian officials generally refuse to comment on attacks on Russian soil. However, many drone strikes appeared to be directed at Russian energy infrastructure.

The head of the Kaluga region, Vladislav Shapsha, said a drone strike had sparked a fire at an electrical substation, while the governors of Bryansk, Alexander Bogomaz and Smolensk, Vasily Anokhin, also reported fires in oil and energy complexes.

In recent months, Russian refineries and oil terminals have become priority targets for Ukrainian drone attacks, as part of intensified assaults on Russian territory.

Ukrainian drone developers have been extending the range of their weapons for months, as kyiv attempts to compensate for its disadvantage on the battlefield in arms and troops. Unmanned aerial vehicles are also an affordable option as Ukraine awaits increased U.S. military aid.

Moscow announced Friday evening that a US citizen known for fighting alongside Kremlin-backed separatists in Ukraine between 2014 and 2017 had died in the Russian-occupied Donetsk region.

Russell Bentley, 64, was no longer involved in military operations and previously worked for Russian state news agency Sputnik. His death was confirmed by his former battalion and by Margarita Simonyan, director of public broadcaster RT, who described him as “a true American.” He used the call sign “Texas” and spent time in prison on drug charges before leaving the United States.

No information has been released on Bentley’s cause of death, but local police had previously reported the American missing on April 8.

Meanwhile, Russia attacked Ukraine overnight with seven missiles, and air defenses shot down two missiles and three reconnaissance drones, the Ukrainian Air Force said Saturday.

Governor Oleh Kiper, head of Ukraine’s Odessa region, said the ballistic missiles damaged infrastructure overnight, but did not provide further details. Previous attacks on the Black Sea city damaged port infrastructure on Friday, including two food export terminals, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

Russian bombing also killed two men, including an 81-year-old pensioner, in the town of Vovchansk, said Governor Oleh Syniehubov, head of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region.

A 60-year-old woman was injured after a bombing hit a nine-story building, he said.

A 54-year-old man was also killed in a bombing in the Dnipropetrovsk region, local governor Serhii Lysak said.

Along with the attacks, Ukrainian police said they were searching for two Ukrainian soldiers who killed a police officer at a checkpoint in the Vinnytsia region.

Troops opened fire on Maksym Zaretskyi, 20, early Saturday morning after he stopped their car for a routine inspection. Zaretskyi’s partner was injured but survived the attack.

In a statement on social media, the Ukrainian Ground Forces Command confirmed that the two men were military personnel. They described Zaretskyi’s death as an “irreparable loss” and said those guilty of his assassination should be “severely punished.”

“The Land Forces Command will provide all possible assistance in a thorough and impartial investigation,” the statement said.


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