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HomeRussiaAttacks on Russian air bases shine spotlight on Ukrainian drone program

Attacks on Russian air bases shine spotlight on Ukrainian drone program

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Explosions at two Russian air bases Monday have focused attention on Ukraine’s efforts to develop longer-range combat drones.

The Russian Defense Ministry says the attacks were carried out by Ukrainian drones, which it claims were brought down by Russian air defenses. 

Imagery — both satellite and photographs — indicates some damage was done to Russian military planes at one base in Ryazan region.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has offered no official comment on the explosions, and the Ukrainian government has not acknowledged adding long-range attack drones to its arsenal.

However, the state-owned weapons manufacturer Ukroboronprom has indicated several times in recent weeks that it is close to finishing work on a new long-range drone.

In October, it posted on Facebook — along with an image of what appeared to be part of the drone’s structure: “Range is 1000 km, weight of the combat unit is 75 kg. Putting the final touches on this one.”

On Nov. 24, Ukroboronprom published another post: “The next stage of UAV testing – On behalf of the Chief of the General Staff, we are getting ready for flight tests under the action of electronic warfare.”

“Weather, on the one hand, becomes a problem, and on the other hand, it’s an additional test for the complex. A kind of crash test.”

A photo showed the words “az vozdam” inscribed on what was purported to be the drone — meaning “I will repay.”

And on Saturday, company spokeswoman Natalia Sad was reported by news agency Ukrinform to have told Ukrainian television.

However, there is no public indication that the drone in question has been readied for deployment or was involved in the explosions inside Russia.

The two bases hit, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, are hundreds of miles inside Russian territory and beyond the reach of Ukraine’s declared arsenal of drones. No footage or images of the remnants of drones have been published.  

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