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Friday, May 24, 2024

Under Fire: Kyiv Strikes Back – Bomber Shot Down 308km Inside Russia

According to the Moscow defense ministry, Russia faced an onslaught of Ukrainian drones from Friday night into Saturday morning. The ministry reported detecting 50 Ukrainian UAVs, with 26 over the Belgorod region, 10 over Bryansk, eight over Kursk, two over the Tula region, and one each over the Smolensk, Ryazan, Kaluga, and Moscow regions.

Multiple sources indicated that Ukraine targeted Russian electrical and petrochemical facilities in a series of attacks. One such attack resulted in a blaze at an oil facility in Kardymovo, approximately 100km inside Russia’s Smolensk oblast, as stated by the region’s governor.

Russian authorities claimed that Ukrainian drones also struck an electrical substation in Bryansk oblast, about 50km within Russian territory, with unconfirmed online footage showing a significant fire. Moscow’s defense ministry asserted that all drones were successfully intercepted, while local officials attributed any damage to falling debris from the downed UAVs, lacking independent verification.

Ukraine reported shooting down a Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bomber from a distance of 308km (180 miles) after its involvement in a long-range airstrike that resulted in casualties, including two children, in Dnipro. Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, disclosed the striking distance.

Also Read: Ukraine: “Out of Missiles” to Halt Russian Strike on Power Station

An undisclosed intelligence source disclosed that the plane was targeted with a modified S-200 Soviet-era long-range surface-to-air missile system, with unconfirmed social media footage depicting a warplane engulfed in flames as it descended. The Russian defense ministry confirmed the crash in the southern Stavropol region, attributing it to a technical malfunction. Four aircrew members were ejected, resulting in one fatality, two rescues, and one missing individual, as per the regional governor.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited the strike site in Dnipro, urging allies to expedite the provision of air defenses. Zelenskiy also stated that Russian missiles hit the Black Sea port of Pivdennyi in the Odesa region, destroying grain storage facilities and their contents.

Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives made progress in advancing a foreign aid package, including $61bn for Ukraine. The House is slated to vote on the legislation, with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer instructing senators to be on standby for a potential weekend session if the package advances. The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, affirmed that upon passage, the US would promptly supply arms to Ukraine.

In a separate development, bureaucratic hurdles have impeded more than half of a £900m military fund for Ukraine managed by the British Ministry of Defence. Delays in awarding contracts have hindered the distribution of equipment to the frontline, with only £404m utilized thus far. The fund, established in August 2022, aimed for flexibility and low bureaucracy, but MoD officials cited the need to assess numerous defense company proposals for the delays.

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