Russian air-defense systems have downed a Ukrainian Tochka-U tactical ballistic missile over the southwestern Belgorod Region, the Defense Ministry in Moscow reported on Tuesday. The attack took place at around 5am local time, the ministry said in a statement on Telegram.
Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov reported that no casualties or damage had been sustained, according to preliminary assessments. He added that Kiev’s forces had also fired 24 artillery rounds into Belgorod in the past 24 hours, which borders Ukraine.
The Tochka-U, dubbed SS-21 Scarab by NATO, is a mobile launch system developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Russia has phased out its use in favor of the more superior 9K270 Iskander, which was introduced in the mid-2000s.
Moscow has repeatedly accused Kiev of using Soviet-made cluster bombs both before and after Russia launched its military campaign against its neighbor. In March of last year, a Tochka-U missile with a cluster payload hit the center of Donetsk, the capital of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). Twenty-three civilians, including children, were killed in the attack while at least 18 others were injured, according to the Russian Investigative Committee.
Kiev has also repeatedly used drones in what Russian officials have described as “terrorist attacks” on civilian infrastructure, reaching as far as Moscow. In November, the general in charge of Ukraine’s UAV operations claimed that Kiev was gearing up for a massive drone bombing campaign against Russia this winter, as the fighting on the ground is expected to enter a lull due to the harsh weather conditions.
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