Russian officers were among casualties caused by a Ukrainian unmanned aerial device (UAV) that landed on a military airfield and exploded upon inspection, it has been reported.

Ukrainian intelligence sources said that a drone exploded on the runway at the Khalino airfield less than 5 miles from the city of Kursk, which hosts Russia’s 14th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment as well as Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter aircraft.

After the Ukrainian drone had apparently landed “safely” on the runway, officers from Russia’s Air Force and its main intelligence service, the FSB, examined the device, RBC Ukraine reported on Monday.

“When the delegation tried to examine the ‘trophy’ UAV, there was a detonation,” a Ukrainian source told RBC, which said “air regiment leaders” were among the casualties.

This illustrative images shows an operator with an airstrike drone called Punisher during a test in Kyiv region on August 11, 2023. Ukrainian intelligence sources have said that a drone detonated on the runway in Russia’s Kursk oblast, causing casualties.
SERGEI SUPINSKY/Getty Images

The outlet reported that among those killed or injured during the explosion were the commander of the 14th aviation regiment, one of his deputies, a group of aviation officers, an FSB officer, and other airfield personnel.

The report did not specify exactly who was killed or injured and Newsweek has emailed the Russian defense ministry for comment on the claims.

The Russian military blogger Boris Rozhin posted on Telegram that there had been “deaths” at the airfield after one of the drones that landed on the Khalino airfield “turned out to have had a ‘surprise.”

“Previously, the enemy had already used such tactics in the Kherson direction,” said that post, which added that several drones had to be blown up after they had landed and that “enemy drones must be handled with care.”

The Baza Telegram channel, which is linked to Russia’s security services, has reported similar incidents recently. Last week, it said that a drone detonated after it had fallen on a farm in the Voronezh oblast south of Moscow.

The outlet posted images of the device lying in a field near a bus stop in what the Russian MOD said was an attempt to carry out a terrorist attack. It also said a drone discovered in the Kursk regional town of Lgov on September 17, near an inactive oil depot, exploded “40 minutes after its discovery.”

“The Ukrainian Armed Forces have started to launch self-destructing drones,” Baza reported.

Other drone attacks have reportedly targeted Kursk in the last couple of days, including a local Ministry of Internal Affairs building in the early hours of Monday morning, according to Ukrainian security sources quoted by RBC.

Ukrainian outlets reported that on the weekend, drones had struck Kursk’s FSB building as well as an oil facility near the local airfield, prompting Mayor Igor Kutsak to cancel City Day celebrations.

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