A Ukrainian drone triggers warehouse explosions in Russia as a war of attrition grinds on

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A village in a border region of western Russia was evacuated Sunday following a series of explosions after debris from a downed Ukrainian drone set fire to a nearby warehouse, local officials said.

Social media footage appeared to show rising clouds of black smoke in the Voronezh region while loud explosions could be heard in succession.

Gov. Aleksandr Gusev said that falling wreckage triggered the “detonation of explosive objects.” No casualties were reported, but residents of a nearby village in the Podgorensky district were evacuated, he said. Roads were also closed with emergency services, military and government officials working at the scene.

A Ukrainian security official told The Associated Press that a strike had been carried out on a warehouse storing ammunition in the village of Serhiivka in the Voronezh region.

“The enemy stored surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, shells for tanks and artillery, and boxes of cartridges for firearms,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give the information to the media. “It is from this warehouse that the occupiers supply ammunition to their troops in Ukraine.”

The official also said that Ukraine’s State Security Service was behind a drone attack on an oil depot in Russia's Krasnodar region the previous day. Russian emergency services had reported that falling drone debris had started a fire at the site, which was successfully extinguished Sunday morning.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense did not address either strike in their morning briefing, but said that air defense systems had destroyed a Ukrainian drone over the Belgorod region.

The strikes come after a Ukrainian military spokesperson told AP on Thursday that Kyiv’s troops had retreated from a neighborhood on the outskirts of Chasiv Yar, a strategically important town in Ukraine’s Donetsk region that has been reduced to rubble under a monthlong Russian assault.

Russian forces have for months tried to grind out gains in Ukraine’s industrial east, in an apparent attempt to lock its defenders into a war of attrition. In a joint investigation published Friday, independent Russian news outlets Meduza and Mediazona reported that Moscow’s forces were losing between 200 and 250 soldiers in Ukraine each day.

Military analysts say Chasiv Yar’s fall could also compromise critical Ukrainian supply routes and put nearby cities in jeopardy, bringing Russia closer to its stated aim of seizing the entire Donetsk region.

Russian strikes have also heavily targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. Officials in Kyiv said Saturday that the city had restored two-thirds of its power generation capacity after recent Russian missile attacks destroyed key power plants.

“Colossal work has been carried out,” said deputy head of the Kyiv city administration Petro Panteleev. “The city’s energy facilities, which were built mainly in the Soviet period, are being modernized and become much more efficient.”

Russia sent overnight into Sunday two ballistic missiles and 13 Shahed drones, Ukrainian air force officials said. All were shot down but the officials did not elaborate on the impact of the missiles.

Eight people were killed in Russian attacks across Ukraine in the past day, according to local regional authorities.

Four people were killed in the Kherson region, said Gov. Oleksandr Prokudin, while in Donetsk, Gov. Vadym Filashkin said another two people had been killed in the towns of Niu-York and Ukrainsk. In Dnipropetrovsk, a 65-year-old woman was killed in a Russian attack in the Nikopol district, while a 47-year old man was killed in the Kharkiv region, Governors Serhii Lysak and Oleh Syniehubov said in their respective statements.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, 14 people died after a bus collided with a cargo vehicle, leaving a single survivor, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said Saturday evening. The victims included a 6-year-old child.


Associated Press writer Katie Marie Davies in Manchester, England, contributed to this report. Full coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine