Three people have been injured after a drone crashed into a residential building in a city in south-western Russia near the border with Ukraine, the regional governor said.
The latest drone attack to target Russian cities in recent weeks comes as Ukraine has been intensifying its efforts to expel Russian forces from a vast swathe of southern and eastern Ukraine that they invaded more than 15 months ago on orders from President Vladimir Putin.
In a Telegram post, regional governor Alexander Gusev said the three residents in Voronezh were hurt by shards of glass from broken windows.
Russian state media published photos showing a high-rise apartment building with some windows blown out and damage to the facade.
Mr Gusev said the drone was targeting a nearby airbase but veered off course after its signal was electronically jammed. The city lies 155 miles north of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region, most of which is occupied by Russia.
Separately, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov of the neighbouring Belgorod region, which also borders Ukraine, said on Telegram that air defences had been working overnight and an apartment building and private homes had been damaged. He said two unspecified targets were shot down but he did not specify the cause of the damage.
Such drone strikes — which have previously hit residential areas in southern Krasnodar — along with cross-border raids in south-western Russia have exposed glaring breaches in Russian air defences and porous border security.
Ukrainian authorities have generally denied any role in such attacks.
Also on Friday, the Ukrainian presidency’s website posted a video statement overnight from President Volodymyr Zelensky that alluded to the latest efforts of his country’s forces to drive out the Russian invaders, along various parts of the 620-mile front line.
Mr Zelensky, speaking in what appeared to be a selfie video from inside a train carriage after visiting flood-hit southern Ukraine, said he was in touch with Ukrainian forces “in all the hottest areas” of the fight and praised an unspecified ”result” from their efforts.
Ukrainian authorities have kept generally quiet about their latest military moves, refusing to join in rising commentary from Western military experts and others that a long-anticipated counter-offensive is under way.
Mr Zelensky echoed that government stance on Friday, saying it was “not time” yet to talk about the details of the fighting.
Analysts and Russian reports suggest Ukrainian forces have been active around the city of Bakhmut, which was largely devastated in a months-long stand-off, as well as carrying out probing operations around Russian-occupied areas of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions.
Meanwhile, governor Oleksandr Prokudin of the southern Kherson region said on Friday that water levels had decreased by about 20cm overnight on the western bank of the Dnieper River, which was inundated after a breach of the Kakhovka dam upstream. The lower part of the river runs along the front line between Russian and Ukrainian forces.
Officials on both sides gave figures that indicated about 16 people have died in connection with the flooding, which has added misery to the lives of Ukrainians beleaguered by the war.
Viktor Vitovetskyi, a representative of Ukraine’s Emergency Service, said 46 municipalities in the region have been flooded — 14 of them along the Russian-occupied eastern bank.
As efforts took place to rescue civilians and supply them with fresh water, healthcare and other services, Russian shelling over the last day killed two civilians and injured 17 in the region, Mr Prokudin said.
Across the country, at least four civilians were killed and 41 people were injured over the past day, according to Mr Zelensky’s office.
Press Association – Associated Press