Russia says drone attacks on energy infrastructure are key threat

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MOSCOW, March 28 (Reuters) - Possible drone attacks against key energy infrastructure are a serious threat to Russia's energy security, Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov said on Tuesday.

Shulginov did not mention Ukraine by name, but Russia says it has foiled a number of attempted Ukrainian drone attacks in recent months.

Ukraine has not publicly acknowledged launching attacks against targets inside Russia, but senior officials in Kyiv have on occasion appeared to welcome the news of successful drone attacks on Russian soil.

"The key threat now is acts of illegal interference through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)," Shulginov said during a roundtable discussion where he addressed the security of Russia's energy facilities.

He said he was cooperating with Russia's defence ministry and FSB security service on the issue.

Russia has previously reported drone attacks in several towns and cities, some of them hundreds of kilometres (miles) from its border with Ukraine.

On Sunday, Russia's defence ministry said it had halted a UAV attack in a town 220 km (140 miles) south of Moscow, bringing down the drone over residential houses in the town of Kireyevsk.

Russia accused Ukraine of mounting drone attacks on air bases deep inside Russian territory in December, including the main base for strategic bomber planes near the city of Saratov, after flying hundreds of kilometres through Russian airspace.

Russia itself has launched waves of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine's energy infrastructure over the last six months of the conflict, often knocking out power for millions of civilians across Ukraine.

Reporting by Reuters

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