‘Drone attack’ at airport in western Russia: Regional governor says Putin’s military is repelling assault near Estonian border – while Moldovan President calls for ‘democratic world to help Ukraine’ and her own country
- Pskov Airport, 20 miles from Estonian border, reportedly bombarded by drones
- Dramatic video footage shows explosions hitting and fire illuminating the sky
- Moldovan President warns that Russia could target more ex-Soviet nations
Drones are believed to have been used to attack an airport in western Russia just 20 miles from the border of NATO member Estonia.
Videos shared on social media show explosions at Pskov Airport in western Russia, a short distance from the neighbouring Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to the south are all NATO and European Union member states. Russian state news agency TASS later confirmed that four IL-76 transport planes had been damaged.
The attack came as Moldova’s president, Maia Sandu, warned that Russia could follow through on threats to make the country ‘the next Ukraine’ if it succeeds in clawing the war-torn nation back under its control.
Footage of the Pskov attack filmed from around two kilometres (1.2 miles) away shows explosions lighting up the sky; videos believed to have been filmed later show huge fires burning.
The sky is illuminated by fire in Pskov following an alleged drone attack
An image shared by regional governor Mikhail Vedernikov of the attack at Pskov airport. He said the Russian defence ministry was ‘repelling a drone attack’
Regional governor Mikhail Vedernikov (seen here on the right with Russian president Vladimir Putin) says there have been no injuries reported in the attack on Pskov
READ MORE: Ukraine’s troops pick off Putin’s soldiers one-by-one in brutal close-quarters combat footage as Kyiv’s counter-offensive makes more gains into Russia’s Zaporizhzhia defences
Ukraine’s forces have pushed deeper into Russian defensive lines in the country’s south as footage emerged of intense close-quarters combat between its armed forces and the invading infantrymen (pictured)
Russian officials have claimed that the attack is being conducted using drones; regional governor Mikhail Vedernikov said in a statement that defence forces were ‘repelling a drone attack’.
He shared the message, along with video footage of a burning fire in Pskov, on his personal channel on the messaging app Telegram. According to initial reports, he said, there were no injuries.
TASS, quoting emergency services, said four Il-76 transport aircraft, long the workhorse of the Russian military, were damaged at the military airfield.
‘As a result of the drone attack, four Il-76 aircraft were damaged. A fire broke out and two planes burst into flames,’ TASS reported.
The airspace around Moscow’s Vnukovo airport was closed early on Wednesday, TASS news agency quoted Russian aviation officials as saying.
No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, Pskov Airport – around 500 miles north of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, operates as both a military and commercial airfield.
The attack came as the president of Moldova, which borders Ukraine to the south-west, predicted that her country would be the next victim of a would-be Russian incursion like that suffered by Ukraine almost 18 months ago.
Sergey Lavrov, Putin’s foreign minister, described Moldova as ‘the next Ukraine’ earlier this year in a remark widely seen as a threat. Just this week, Moldova celebrated its 32nd Independence Day after seceding from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Moldovan president Maia Sandu told The Times that Vladimir Putin ‘does not respect sovereignty and independence’ and claimed that intelligence services thwarted an attempted coup by the Kremlin earlier this year.
President Sandu said the takeover would have seen Russian agents seizing government buildings and taking hostages, after Moscow sought to weaken the small nation by cutting gas and electricity supplies.
She told The Times: ‘Russia does not want Moldova to advance on its EU path. Russia wants Moldova to stay part of the grey zone to use it in its fight against the democratic world.’
If Ukraine is lost, she fears its neighbour to the south-west will be next.
She added: ‘The democratic world needs to help Moldova and Ukraine. Preserving Ukraine and Moldova as democracies is good not only for the people of these countries, but also for the people of Europe, as well as the world.’
Maia Sandu, the president of Moldova. She has warned that Putin will try to crush Moldova next if it succeeds in claiming Ukraine
President Sandu with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine. She has called on ‘strong’ countries to continue supporting the beleaguered nation in its defence against Russia
President Sandu addresses crowds on Moldova’s Independence Day on August 27. The country seceded from the Soviet Union in 1991 but Sergey Lavrov has said it will be ‘the next Ukraine’ in remarks widely seen as a thinly veiled threat to the country’s sovereignty
Russian anti-air defences in action in the Tula region, south of Moscow, on August 25. Ukraine has launched a number of offences inside Russia and Russian-controlled territory
Ukraine has launched a number of offences on military targets inside Russia in recent days, including a bombardment of the Shaykovka airfield south-west of Moscow.
The bombardment came during what may have been the busiest night of Ukrainian attacks on Russia and Russian-held territory during the war.
Two major Moscow international airports – Vnukovo and Domodedovo – were closed, leading to significant disruption for incoming and outgoing planes.
Russian air defences were also in action in Tula region, south of the capital, which borders Kaluga region amid suspected drone attacks.
Separately, a record 42 Ukrainian drones were aimed at annexed Black Sea peninsula Crimea, according to Russian sources.
Nine were shot down, and 33 suppressed by electronic warfare means, said the Russian defence ministry.
There was no independent evidence on the consequences of the mass drone attack.
It followed an audacious special forces raid which raised a Ukrainian flag on annexed Crimea after an attack on Russian positions.
‘An entire division was destroyed on Cape Tarkhankut in temporarily occupied Crimea,’ said Ukraine’s Intelligence Chief Kyrylo Budanov.
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