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Russia Says Downed Ukrainian Drones Over 5 Regions

A cadet pilots a drone during an open training session at General Margelov Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School on Nov. 24, 2023. Alexander Ryumin/TASS

Russia said Sunday it had downed Ukrainian drones over five regions, including Moscow, as well as two Ukrainian missiles over the Azov Sea, a day after a large-scale Russian drone attack on Kyiv.

Russia and Ukraine have hit each with drones for months, as Moscow's offensive drags on for a 22nd month, with little significant movement on the front, despite fierce fighting.

Russia said the drones hit the Moscow region, other regions near the capital as well as regions bordering Ukraine.

"Air defense destroyed nine drones over the territory of the Moscow, Tula, Kaluga and Bryansk regions," Russia's defense ministry said early on Sunday.

It later said that another four Ukrainian drones were downed over the Bryansk region, which borders Ukraine, as well as the southwestern Smolensk region and the Tula region, which lies north of Moscow.

The attacks came a day after Ukraine said Russia had launched 75 Iranian-made Shahed drones, mostly aimed at Kyiv, in what it said was a "record" since Moscow's offensive last year.

Ukraine has upped attacks on Russia since launching its counter-offensive this summer, and has hit regions close to fighting zones as well as further inland into Russia, including Moscow itself.

The Russian army also said Sunday it had downed two Ukrainian missiles over the Azov Sea that it said were headed for Russia.

Russia controls the Ukrainian Azov Sea coast, which fell to Moscow early in its offensive last year.

Local authorities in the affected regions did not report casualties.

"I call on refraining to share photographs or videos of the drones on social media," the Smolensk governor Vasily Anokhin wrote on Telegram, adding that emergency services were working in areas that were hit.

Smolensk region, which borders Belarus, has been mostly spared from drone attacks.

'Bad weather and Russian shelling' 

On the battlefield, fighting has now focused around the industrial hub of Avdiivka, which appears almost encircled by Russian forces.

The fall of Avdiivka — a symbol of Ukrainian resistance since 2014 — would be a significant loss for Kyiv.

Ukraine, meanwhile, reported Russian attacks in the south and east of the country.

The head of the southern city of Kherson, Roman Mrochko, said two urban districts were shelled and that information of possible victims was being clarified.

Regional authorities in the Kherson region said around a dozen villages were left without electricity due to bad weather and Russian attacks.

Kyiv has been preparing for weeks for a feared renewal of Moscow's campaign to hit its energy grid in a possible repeat of last year, when thousands were left without power in freezing temperatures.

"Due to bad weather and Russian shelling, a number of settlements in our region were left without electricity," the head of the Kherson region Oleksandr Prokudin said on Telegram.

"Power supply teams are already working to eliminate the malfunctions," he added.

Nearly 400 localities are without electricity in Ukraine due to "extremely difficult" weather conditions, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced.

This comes at a time when "a large part of our country is experiencing extremely difficult weather conditions," he added.

Deputy Head of the Presidential Office Oleksiy Kuleba warned that the weather was worsening with heavy snowfalls expected in the Kyiv, Chernihiv, Cherkasy and Odesa regions.

Call for more weapons

Fearing that global attention has shifted to the Israel-Hamas conflict, Ukraine has called on the West to supply more weapons to counter Moscow's forces as the winter settles in.

Saturday's large-scale attack on Ukraine, which affected central Kyiv areas, came the day Ukraine marked Holodomor — the starvation of millions in Ukraine during the Stalin era.

It also came as Ukraine is marking 10 years since its pro-EU Maidan revolution.

Shortly after Ukrainians overthrew a Moscow-backed regime in 2014, Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula and backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Russia continues to see the Maidan revolution as illegitimate and when it launched its full-scale offensive in February last year, it aimed to install a different government in Ukraine.

"In Kyiv 10 years ago there was a coup with the use of force, the legitimate authorities were overthrown," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday.

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