Russia blames Ukraine for drone explosion far from border that injured three people

An explosion in Russia reportedly injured three people, including a 16-year-old girl, on Sunday. Russian authorities blamed a Ukrainian drone for the blast 175 kilometres south of Moscow.

The explosion occurred shortly after 3:00 pm local time in the town of Kireyevsk in the Tula region, about 300 kilometres from the border with Ukraine. 

Ukraine has not commented on the explosion. It reportedly damaged three residential buildings, four houses and created a crater around five metres deep.

The Russian state-run news agency Tass claimed the explosion was caused by a Soviet-made Tu-141 drone, which was reintroduced in Ukraine in 2014 after it was retired from service in 1989.

Similar drone attacks have been common during the war, although Ukraine hardly ever acknowledges responsibility.

Last Monday, Russia said Ukrainian drones attacked civilian facilities in a town in Russia-annexed Crimea. Ukrainian forces said several Russian cruise missiles were destroyed, but did not specifically claim responsibility.

In December, the Russian military reported several Ukrainian drone attacks on long-range bomber bases deep inside Russia. The Russian Defense Ministry said the drones were shot down but acknowledged that their debris damaged some aircraft and killed several soldiers. 

Emergency UN meeting over Russia’s nuclear plan

Sunday’s explosion comes as Kyiv called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to “counter the Kremlin’s nuclear blackmail” after Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed plans to station tactical atomic weapons in Belarus.

Russia has said the plan to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus comes in response to the West’s increasing military support for Ukraine. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko prior to talks at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow in February.

In a television interview, Putin said the plan was triggered by a UK decision to provide Ukraine with armour-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium. 

Putin argued that by deploying its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Russia was following the lead of the United States. 

He noted that Washington has nuclear weapons based in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry condemned the move in a statement Sunday. “Ukraine expects effective action to counter the Kremlin’s nuclear blackmail by the UK, China, the US and France,” it said, adding these countries “have a special responsibility” regarding nuclear aggression.

“The world must be united against someone who endangers the future of human civilization.”

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