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Ukrainian drone strikes Russian nuclear radar station

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Ukraine has carried out a series of drone strikes inside Russia in recent days, including one of the longest-range strikes of the war, targeting a radar station that Moscow uses at least in part as an early nuclear warning system.

Ukraine attacked a radar station near the border with Kazakhstan, more than 1,100 miles from Ukraine, on Monday, Ukrainian intelligence officials said. Ukrainian experts said the facility was used to detect missile threats from Asia.

On Tuesday morning, the governor of Russia’s Krasnodar region reported that a Ukrainian drone had been shot down over the town of Armavir, which is home to two radar stations. Ukraine did not report any new attacks that day.

Ukraine carried out the strikes using its own drones and missiles, but they came as officials in Kyiv urgently called on the United States for permission to launch powerful American-made weapons at Russia. The Biden administration has rejected those calls for fear of being drawn into a wider war, though it may be about to change that stance.

A senior Biden administration official said the attack on the radar system also left U.S. officials concerned about an escalation. The government expressed concern This week, Russia will send a warning to Ukraine in protest of Kyiv’s drone and missile attacks on three nuclear early warning radar stations in Russia in recent weeks, the official said.

Analysts say that by penetrating deep into Russian territory, Ukraine hopes to force Russia to extend its air defense system into the country so that Moscow cannot concentrate its defense weapons near the border. In this sense, the strike has a military purpose even if the radar system is not used in the war, military experts say.

In Monday’s attack, Ukraine used a long-range drone built in Ukraine and launched from within the country to strike a radar station in the region around Orsk, according to an official with Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military operations.

Satellite images verified by The New York Times showed damage to the radar station on Monday that was not present the day before. The images showed damage including scorch marks, including to the middle section of the radar system itself. It was not possible to determine from the images what hit the facility.

Russian news media reported that a military facility in the area where the radar station is located was attacked, but did not specify what was hit. The official said the drone was launched from Ukrainian territory and was built inside Ukraine by Ukraine’s main military intelligence agency.

During Tuesday’s strike, Telegraph message The governor’s office said a drone was destroyed by air defense forces over Armavir. No casualties or property damage were caused, the statement said.

The scale of the damage caused by Monday’s drone strike was unclear. Defense Express, a Ukrainian open-source military analysis group, said the radar system was designed to warn of missiles coming from southern and eastern Russia, such as those from China or India.

The attack continued a pattern of successful Ukrainian drone strikes inside Russia, even as the Ukrainian military has been defending against advances in the ground war in the southeast of the country.

Ukraine has developed its own long-range attack weapons and is stepping up production. The Ukrainian military’s General Staff said Ukraine produced about 200,000 drones in the first few months of this year, compared with 60,000 last year.

However, drones cannot change the situation on the front line, where Russia has an advantage in artillery and missiles and has advanced at multiple points along the way. That is why Ukraine has been calling on the United States and its allies to allow the deployment of powerful Western weapons to Russia.

Kiev has indeed used Western weapons to attack Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine, including Crimea.

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