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Ukraine Uses Drones in What Appears to Be Its Deepest Strike Yet Inside Russia

Ukrainian drones attacked industrial facilities in the province of Tatarstan, Russian authorities said Tuesday, in what would be Kyiv’s deepest strike inside Russian territory since the war began more than two years ago.

Seven people were injured in the attack on facilities near the cities of Yelabuga and Nizhnekamsk, located some 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) east of Ukraine, Russian regional authorities said.

The strike damaged a hostel for students and workers in a free economic zone where a factory manufacturing Iranian-designed drones is reportedly located, other media reports said. Tatarstan is known for its high level of industrialization.

Tatarstan officials said the attack didn’t disrupt industrial production, while Nizhnekamsk’s mayor said the attempt to strike a refinery was thwarted by air defenses.

Kyiv officials normally neither claim nor deny responsibility for attacks on Russian soil, though they sometimes refer obliquely to them. The Associated Press could not independently verify the reports.

Ukrainian drone developers have for months been extending the weapons’ range, part of Kyiv’s effort to compensate for its battlefield disadvantage in weapons and troops. The unmanned aerial vehicles are also an affordable option while Ukraine awaits more U.S. military aid.

Neither side is currently able to make much of a dent on the around 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front line.

Ukraine previously has launched drone attacks in and around St. Petersburg, which lies about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) north of the border. But the facilities in Tatarstan, a province on the Volga River, appears to be the most distant target Ukraine has tried to hit.

In recent weeks, Russian refineries and oil terminals have been targets of Ukrainian drone attacks, part of stepped-up assaults on Russian territory, including long-range drone attacks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said last year his country had developed a weapon that hit a target 700 kilometers (400 miles) away, in an apparent reference to a drone attack on Russian soil.

Late last year, Ukraine’s minister for digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, said the government was bent on building a state-of-the-art “ army of drones ” and that its value to the war effort will be evident by the end of this year. Ukraine trained more than 10,000 new drone pilots last year, he said.

Ukraine has also developed deadly sea drones that have struck Russian navy ships in the Black Sea.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s air force said Tuesday it intercepted nine out of 10 Shahed drones launched overnight by Russia in the latest attack on the country’s power grid.

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