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Russia-Ukraine war: Powerful explosion rocks two apartment buildings in St Petersburg

Russian authorities said two buildings were damaged after a huge explosion in an unspecified “incident” in St Petersburg on Saturday, with unconfirmed media reports attributing it to the downing of a Ukrainian drone.

No casualties were reported in the incident which took place at about 6.50am local time (3.50am GMT) in the Krasnogvardeysky district of Russia’s second-biggest city where the country’s president Vladimir Putin was born.

Six people required medical attention after the explosion rocked the buildings, RIA Novosti, a state-owned news agency said, citing the press service of the city’s health care committee.

It comes as three people were killed in a Russian drone strike at an apartment block in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odesa overnight, officials said. Eight people were injured, regional governor Oleh Kiper said, after the region came under attack from eight drones out of which seven were shot down by air defences.

Russian media outlets suggested the St Petersburg incident may have been the result of a downed drone crashing into the apartment buildings. The likely target of the strike may have been the northeast of St Petersburg, less than a kilometre from the crash site, according to the Telegram channel Mash, one of the most popular Russian-language channels.

Footage shared by the channel showed the multi-storey building being struck, with a sudden flash of light engulfing one side of the structure and debris fragments scattering into the air.

The city’s governor, Alexander Beglov, confirmed the damage to the buildings and that residents of the affected apartments were evacuated. “There are no casualties. The glazing of the balconies of two houses was partially damaged. The residents of the affected apartments have been evacuated,” he wrote on his Telegram channel.

The wreckage of a drone near a damaged apartment’s building after a reported drone attack in St Petersburg

(AP)

The videos showed alarms going off, panic among some residents, and the sound of a strong explosion.

Tass reported nearly 100 people were working on the site, including rescuers and medics, and an operational headquarters has been set up.

Russian emergency servicemen and investigators work near a damaged multi-storey residential building

(EPA)

Across Ukraine, Kyiv’s defence forces shot down 14 of 17 drones launched at various sites overnight, officials said.

Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Syniehubov reported on Saturday morning that more than 20 settlements in the eastern Ukrainian province had sustained Russian artillery and mortar attacks, while high-rise buildings in the regional capital, also called Kharkiv, were damaged by a drone attack.

He said that there were no casualties, but that three people suffered an “acute stress reaction”.


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