Russia Closes Airspace, Tightens Border After Reports of Drone Attack

February 28, 2023

On Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered tighter security at the Russian-Ukrainian border amid reports of several drones attacking inside Russia territory—including one that crashed just 60 miles from Moscow.

The move came hours after Russia closed airspace temporarily over its second-largest city, St. Petersburg, amid unconfirmed reports of a drone or other unidentified object.

Flights at the city’s airport were also suspended. 

St. Petersburg’s city government and Russia’s state-run news agency RIA Novosti made the announcements respectively. Airspace over St. Petersburg reopened around 12:30pm local time and flights resumed about a half hour earlier. 

Russia’s news outlet Baza also reported that fighter jets had been sent to intercept the object, which allegedly came from the Gulf of Finland. 

The airspace closure follows reports Monday of drones over Russia in multiple regions, including Krasnodar, Bryansk and Belgorod.

There has been a “massive drone attack on Russia,” with the unidentified objects spotted in at least five regions in Russia over the past 24 hours, Baza reported.

The Kremlin further said it had shot down two Ukrainian drones targeting civilian infrastructure in southern Russia overnight Monday into Tuesday.

No injuries were reported, but pro-war Russian military bloggers railed against the reported drone strikes.

“The enemy undertook a daring attack today, drones in Belgorod, Tuapse, Adygea, and now in St. Petersburg, and because of this, the airspace in the city and the region is closed,” read one Telegram post shared by the Wagner-connected Grey Zone mercenary group.

A popular pro-Kremlin channel said the drone attack should be viewed as “preparation for a spring offensive by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, when the purpose of such strikes will be to destabilize the home front and spread mass panic among Russians.”

Meanwhile, Russia launched a new wave of Iranian-made drones against Ukraine—the first such attacks in a week.

Ukraine’s military said it shot down 11 out of 14 Iranian-made Shahed drones late Sunday and early Monday. Ukraine said nine of those shot down were aimed at Kyiv.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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