bAs Ukraine expands its drone strikes, it is claiming a serious blow to the Russian air force. Media in Kiev cited information from security sources on Friday that said 19 Russian fighter jets were destroyed or damaged. Russian civil authorities reported only Ukrainian drone strikes in several regions where military airfields are located. A Russian military blogger confirmed the attack on the Morozovsk air base in the Rostov region of southern Russia, but denied the loss of aircraft. Initial satellite images did not allow clear confirmation of the Kiev statements.

Ukraine has been defending itself against the Russian invasion for more than two years, and on Saturday it marks the 773rd day of the war. During the night there was an air alert in the east of the country. The Ukrainian Air Force reported Russian aircraft and combat drones in the air. A Russian guided missile was shot down near the port city of Odessa. As of Friday evening, at least four people were killed and many more injured in a double Russian rocket attack on the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia in the south, close to the frontline.

Attacks on Russian air bases

In recent weeks, Ukraine has expanded attacks in the Russian hinterland with combat drones it developed itself. The aircraft were mostly directed to Russian oil refineries, and most recently to a drone factory about 1,200 kilometers from Ukraine. However, there have so far been no simultaneous attacks on several important Russian air bases like on Friday night.

The Russian Air Force has stationed Sukhoi Su-24 and Su-27 bombers in Morozovsk. They are used to drop the dreaded glide bombs on cities behind the Ukrainian front. Security sources in Kiev said six aircraft were destroyed and eight damaged at the base. Russian military blogger Fighterbomber denied this. The Russian side was warned and withdrew the jets in good time. The information provided by both sides could not be independently verified.

According to information from Kiev, two Su-25 ground attack aircraft were destroyed at the Yeisk base in the southern Russian region of Krasnodar. Another attack targeted the Engels military airport near Saratov on the Volga, more than 600 kilometers from Ukrainian territory. Three Tu-95 strategic bombers were damaged. Russia often uses such long-range bombers to fire cruise missiles at Ukraine. For the time being, nothing has been known about the possible consequences of another attack on a military airfield in the Kursk region.

Double rocket attack on Zaporizhia

According to authorities, at least four people were killed on Friday when Russian rockets hit the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia. 13 people were taken to hospitals, including four seriously injured. This was announced by the region's governor, Ivan Fedorov, on Ukrainian news television. According to the regional administration, more than 20 people were injured. A total of five rockets were fired at targets in the city.

Two journalists from the state news agency Ukrinform and the TV channel 1+1 were among the injured. They had been reporting on site about the consequences of the first rocket hits when the second wave of attacks followed. Zaporizhia had already been attacked by Russian combat drones last night.

Power cuts due to damaged power plants

Because of Russian hits on Ukrainian electricity and thermal power plants in recent weeks, the utility Ukrenerho had to switch off power in five regions for a good three hours on Friday evening. According to a statement, the areas affected were Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Kirovograd, Poltava and Sumy. The residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv are particularly suffering from a lack of electricity, and have been for weeks. The restrictions are even stricter there.

Ukraine fortifies its border in the north

Two years after the recapture of the Chernihiv region in northern Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the region. “Thanks to the resistance of the people, we managed to turn this war around, stop the invaders and drive them out of our homeland,” said the head of state in the regional capital Chernihiv. But the region on the border with Russia and Belarus continues to be shelled with artillery. According to his presidential office, Zelenskyj also visited newly constructed military fortifications with trenches, mine belts and anti-tank barriers. The Ukrainian army wants to stop a possible second advance by Russian troops.

At the start of the war of aggression in February 2022, the Russian army also advanced through this region towards Kiev. The regional capital Chernihiv was not occupied, but was besieged for weeks. When Russian troops withdrew in April 2022, the city and surrounding areas came back under Ukrainian control.