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Ukraine drone attack causes explosion near Russian military HQ

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CNN
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A drone attack caused an explosion near Russia’s military headquarters in the city of Rostov-on-Don on Thursday, as Kyiv continues a campaign of strategic aerial strikes in Russian territory.

Social media videos geolocated by CNN showed the attack in the vicinity of the military base. In a Telegram post earlier, Rostov regional governor Vasily Golubev said one person was injured and several cars were damaged after Russian air defenses intercepted two drones over the city.

An “emergency mode” was enacted around the crash site and nearly 100 residents were offered alternative temporary accommodation, Golubev said. Kyiv did not make any immediate comment.

Rostov-on-Don is in southern Russia, not far from the Ukrainian border. It was briefly occupied by Wagner troops during the private military group’s brief rebellion against the Kremlin earlier this year.

The strike was one of several to hit Russia overnight. Russian air defense systems separately intercepted a drone attack near Moscow, the capital’s mayor Sergey Sobyanin said in a post on Telegram on Thursday.

“Tonight, in the Ramensky urban district, air defense forces thwarted a drone attack on Moscow. There is no damage or casualties at the site of the fall of the wreckage. Emergency services are on site,” Sobyanin said in the post.

Ukraine is showing increasing willingness to launch targeted strikes across the border, in an apparent attempt to slowly wear down domestic Russian support for the war and degrade Russian infrastructure.

The attacks have come amid the continued assault of Ukrainian cities by Moscow, whose attacks regularly target civilian areas.

On Wednesday, at least 17 people including a child were killed after a Russian missile struck a market in a town in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk, officials said. It was one of the worst attacks in months.

“Russian troops are terrorists who will not be forgiven and will not be left in peace,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote on Telegram. “There will be a just retribution for everything.”

In addition to the attacks on Russian territory, Kyiv has continued to also hit Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine.

Russian-appointed officials in occupied Zaporizhzhia say there was another Ukrainian drone attack on Enerhodar, the city adjacent to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, early on Thursday.

Ukraine is meanwhile “slowly gaining ground” in its counteroffensive despite weeks of difficult fighting, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday.

“The Ukrainians are gradually gaining ground,” he told the European Parliament. “This is heavy fighting, difficult fighting but they have been able to breach the defensive lines of the Russian forces. And they are moving forward.”

His remarks come after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sent out a strong message last week regarding Ukraine’s progress, tweeting: “No matter what anyone says, we are advancing, and that is the most important thing. We are on the move.”

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