Ukraine has launched a barrage of drones across Russia overnight, the Defence Ministry in Moscow said on Saturday, in attacks that appeared to target the country’s energy infrastructure.

Fifty drones were shot down by air defences over eight Russian regions, including 26 over the country’s western Belgorod region close to the Ukrainian border. Two people – a woman with a broken leg and the man caring for her – died during the barrage, after explosions sparked a blaze that set their home alight, Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on social media.

A pregnant woman and her unborn child were also killed in shelling later on Saturday, he said.

Drones were also reportedly destroyed over the Bryansk, Kursk, Tula, Smolensk, Ryazan, Kaluga regions across Russia’s west and south, as well as in the Moscow region.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said that it had shot down a Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet. It provided no details and the claims could not be independently verified.

Ukrainian officials normally decline to comment about attacks on Russian soil. However, many of the drone strikes appeared to be directed towards Russia’s energy infrastructure.

The head of the Kaluga region, Vladislav Shapsha, said a drone strike had sparked a blaze at an electrical substation, while Bryansk governor Alexander Bogomaz and Smolensk governor Vasily Anokhin also reported fires at fuel and energy complexes.

In recent months, Russian refineries and oil terminals have become priority targets of Ukrainian drone attacks, part of stepped-up assaults on Russian territory.

Ukrainian drone developers have been extending the weapons’ range for months, as Kyiv attempts to compensate for its battlefield disadvantage in weapons and troops. The unmanned aerial vehicles are also an affordable option while Ukraine waits for more US military aid.

Meanwhile, Russia attacked Ukraine overnight with seven missiles, and air defences downed two missiles and three reconnaissance drones, the Ukrainian air force said.

Damage caused by Russia’s attack on a residential building in Dnipro, Ukraine
Damage caused by Russia’s attack on a residential building in Dnipro, Ukraine (Dnipropetrovsk Regional Military Administration via AP Photo)

Governor Oleh Kiper, head of Ukraine’s Odesa region, said that ballistic missiles had damaged infrastructure overnight, but did not provide further details. Previous attacks on the Black Sea city on Friday damaged port infrastructure, including two food export terminals, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Russian shelling also killed a 50-year-old man in the city of Vovchansk, said governor Oleh Syniehubov, head of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region.

A 60-year-old woman was also injured after shelling struck a nine-storey block of flats, he said.