Ukrainian Drone Triggers Warehouse Explosions in Russia

Russian soldiers fire from the BM-21 Grad self-propelled 122mm multiple rocket launcher in an undisclosed location in Ukraine, last week. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

KYIV (AP) — A village in western Russia’s border region was evacuated Sunday following a series of explosions after debris from a downed Ukrainian drone set fire to a nearby warehouse, local officials said.

Social media footage appeared to show rising clouds of black smoke in the Voronezh region while loud explosions could be heard in succession.

Gov. Aleksandr Gusev said that falling wreckage triggered the “detonation of explosive objects.” No casualties were reported, but residents of a nearby village in the Podgorensky district were evacuated, he said. Roads were also closed with emergency services, military and government officials working at the scene.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense did not address the strike in their morning briefing, but said that air defense systems had destroyed a Ukrainian drone over the Belgorod region.

Authorities in Russia’s Krasnodar province on Saturday said a fire at an oil depot had also been caused by falling drone debris. Russia’s emergency services said the blaze was extinguished Sunday morning.

The strikes come after a Ukrainian military spokesperson told The Associated Press Thursday that Kyiv’s troops had retreated from a neighborhood on the outskirts of Chasiv Yar, a strategically important town in Ukraine’s Donetsk region that has been reduced to rubble under a monthlong Russian assault.

Russian forces have for months tried to grind out gains in Ukraine’s industrial east, in an apparent attempt to lock its defenders into a war of attrition. In a joint investigation published Friday, independent Russian news outlets Meduza and Mediazona reported that Moscow’s forces were losing between 200 and 250 soldiers in Ukraine each day.

Military analysts say Chasiv Yar’s fall could also compromise critical Ukrainian supply routes and put nearby cities in jeopardy, bringing Russia closer to its stated aim of seizing the entire Donetsk region.

Russia sent overnight into Sunday two ballistic missiles and 13 Shahed drones, Ukrainian air force officials said. All were shot down but the officials did not elaborate on the impact of the missiles.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, 14 people died after a bus collided with a cargo vehicle, leaving a single survivor, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said Saturday evening. The victims included a six-year-old child.

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