Drones attack deep in Russia as Medvedev threatens Ukraine’s ‘existence’

Russia and Ukraine traded deadly aerial attacks on civilian centres in the past week of the war, but Ukraine also scored hits on military and economic infrastructure deep in the Russian heartland, extending its reach to St Petersburg for the first time.

Ukrainian military intelligence said it had struck an unspecified military target in St Petersburg on Thursday, using drones launched from Ukrainian soil.

Ukrainian strategic industries minister Oleksandr Kamyshin confirmed the attack, telling the World Economic Forum in Davos that the attack was carried out by a Ukrainian-built drone that had travelled 1,250km (780 miles) from Ukrainian soil.

Russia’s defence ministry said three drones had been launched and it had downed all three over the Gulf of Finland that day, one near an oil terminal.

On Sunday, Ukraine attacked again in several locations, and this time, the evidence of its success was clear.

Russian gas producer Novatek said it was suspending operations at a plant and loading terminal in the port of Ust-Luga near St Petersburg, following a fire, which Ukrainian media credited to due to a drone attack, citing Security Service (SBU) sources.

Novatek said it had resumed loading on Wednesday, but plant operations could take weeks or months to return to normal, analysts said. This meant the company would lose money, exporting low-value gas condensate rather than processed naphtha, jet fuel and gasoil.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said aerial defences were being strengthened following the attack.

Ukraine also claimed to have attacked the Shcheglovsky Val plant in Tula, 150km (93 miles) south of Moscow, which reportedly manufactures the Pantsir-S and Pantsir-S1 air defence systems.

Geolocated footage also showed smoke rising from the city of Smolensk, near the Russian border with Belarus, suggesting a possible third attack that day.

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