Moscow said on Monday it had foiled a new Ukrainian drone attack on a strategic bomber military base hundreds of kilometres from their joint border, as Kyiv called for Russia’s ouster from the United Nations.

Russia said it had downed the drone at Engels, a base for the country’s strategic aircraft that Kyiv says have been used to strike Ukraine.

Three servicemen were killed by falling debris, regional authorities said. The same day, Russia’s domestic security agency said it killed four Ukrainian “saboteurs”, who allegedly attempted to enter Russia via a border region.

Moscow has accused pro-Kyiv forces of targeting Russian military sites and civilian infrastructure, including blowing up a bridge linking annexed Crimea to Russia.

Russia’s defence ministry said on Monday it downed a Ukrainian drone at its Engels airfield in the southern Saratov region located more than 600km from the border with Ukraine.

It was the second attack on the Engels airfield in less than a month and the deepest strike into Russian territory since President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on Feb 24.

Russia’s FSB security service claimed it had killed a group of armed saboteurs from Ukraine that attempted to cross into the Bryansk region carrying “improvised explosive devices”. A video released by the FSB showed several bloodied bodies sprawled on the ground, wearing winter camouflage and carrying guns. There was no immediate comment from Kyiv.

The attacks came 10 months into Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine where Russian troops have been battering the country’s energy grid, leaving millions in the cold and dark in the middle of winter. Ukraine on Monday urged the exclusion of Russia — a permanent member of the UN Security Council — from the world body.


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