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Putin Official Tells Russians To Fend For Themselves Amid Drone Attacks

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Residents in a region hit by the deepest drone strikes within Russian territory since the start of the war in Ukraine have been warned that air defenses may not be able to protect them from future attacks.

Since the start of its full-scale invasion, Russia has been hit with drone strikes reaching Moscow as well as ammunition depots and warehouses around the country linked to the war effort. Russian authorities blame Ukraine for the attacks, which Kyiv rarely claims responsibility for.

In the latest incident, a drone attack on the Russian republic of Tatarstan on Tuesday reportedly hit industrial areas that produce Iranian-designed Shahed drones which Moscow uses extensively in its invasion.

Ukrainian drone operator
A prototype drone is tested in a field outside Kyiv, Ukraine, on November 9, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Drone strikes in Russian cities have increased in frequency, with the latest taking place in Tatarstan, approximately…


Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Responding to the strikes, the head of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, appeared to suggest that the system that usually protects against airborne threats may not help them.

“You should not expect missile defense to work—it solves other tasks,” he said in comments reported by Radio Free Europe, without specifying what the other tasks are.

“We have to decide on our own, every enterprise, every municipality, every city,” he added. “The Almighty has given a chance, he said, “wake up, guys, no one will protect us but ourselves.”

Video shared on Telegram channels appears to show the moment one device caused a huge fireball site in Yelabuga, more than 900 miles east of Russia’s border with Ukraine and approximately 600 miles east of Moscow..

A complex of hostels built for employees of the special economic zone and students at the local college was damaged. It is located several hundred meters from an assembly workshop for drones.

There was also reportedly a strike on an oil refining unit in Nizhnekamsk. Its yearly capacity of 8 million tons of oil, accounts for 2.6 percent of Russia’s total annual refining capacity. Oil targets in Russia have been hit hard in recent months.

A source in Kyiv’s intelligence said it had conducted Tuesday’s operation, Ukrainian media reported.

Ukrainian intelligence spokesman Andriy Yusov told Radio Liberty no foreign-made weapons were used during the strikes, without directly claiming responsibility for them.

Newsweek has contacted the Ukrainian and Russian Defense Ministries via email for comment.

Tatarstan authorities insisted there was no serious damage from the strikes and the technological processes of the companies were not disrupted, although there were casualties, with reports that 14 people were injured.

The independent Russian-language outlet Verstka said that the latest drone strikes meant that potentially vulnerable territory in Russia has expanded by 195,000 square kilometers (75,000 square miles) to 1,350,000 square kilometers.

This area is more than 520,000 square miles—almost the size of Alaska and consists of seven cities that have a population of more than 1 million.

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