Russia is hit by a wave of Ukrainian drone attacks and a border incursion ahead of Putin's re-election

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Russia was deed by a activity of attacks Tuesday, pinch Ukrainian drones striking targets heavy wrong nan state from nan aerial while anti-Kremlin equipped groups said they had staged a cross-border incursion connected nan ground.

The attacks were nan latest motion of Kyiv's increasing expertise and determination to return nan conflict to its neighbor's territory, and came conscionable days up of a statesmanlike predetermination that will spot Vladimir Putin re-assert his rule.

The Kremlin, which has worked difficult to burnish an image of home calm contempt nan warfare successful Ukraine, said it had successfully fought disconnected nan attempted incursions. But it was intolerable to verify either side's claims, and attacks for illustration this could unnerve nan Russian nationalist up of nan election.

The Russian defense ministry reported early Tuesday that 25 drones had been intercepted complete astatine slightest 7 regions, successful 1 of Ukraine's astir wide-ranging aerial attacks successful caller months.

The ministry did not study connected immoderate harm aliases casualties, only saying nan drones had been destroyed. But immoderate section governors reported that substance and power accommodation had been hit, including an lipid refinery that was ablaze successful nan Nizhny Novgorod region, immoderate 480 miles from nan Ukraine border.

The ministry separately reported that it destroyed 8 rockets and 1 Tochka-U rocket complete Belgorod region, which has been routinely shelled by Ukraine since nan early months of nan war.

Ukraine usually does not return work for attacks connected Russian soil, but has progressively targeted power accommodation successful caller months pinch drones that tin onslaught deep down Russian lines.

Incursions into Russia?

Meanwhile, a trio of Ukraine-based equipped groups purporting to beryllium Russian volunteers opposed to nan Kremlin said they had staged overnight raids crossed nan border.

The groups released videos connected nan Telegram messaging app claiming to show their fighters wrong Russia, pinch immoderate moving connected what look to beryllium tanks. NBC News could not verify those videos.

The Freedom of Russia Legion claimed to person crossed Russia's occidental separator adjacent nan colony of Tetkino successful nan Kursk region and said it had deed an armored unit bearer successful nan village.

The group released a video connection early Tuesday successful which it criticized Putin's clasp connected powerfulness and said it was fighting to free nan Russian group from “misery, poorness and fear.”

The Russian Volunteer Corps, which staged a dramatic cross-border incursion alongside nan Legion past May, besides said that it had again crossed into Russia, without elaborating connected precisely where. It released a video of its fighters successful an undisclosed location, shooting successful nan dark.

The group's leader and immoderate members person endorsed neo-Nazi ideologies.

Another subject group that calls itself nan Siberian Battalion besides claimed to person crossed nan separator Tuesday.

“We said earlier that it would not beryllium imaginable to overthrow nan criminal dictatorial authorities successful nan Russian Federation peacefully. It tin only beryllium eliminated pinch weapons successful hand,” it said successful a station connected Telegram. “Tonight we began to fulfill nan promise.” It later shared a video claiming to show its fighters successful Russia and calling connected nan country's citizens to ballot pinch weapons, not ballots.

NBC News could not independently verify immoderate of nan groups' claims.

Kursk region politician Roman Starovoit said Tuesday that location was an effort astatine an incursion by a sabotage group, which resulted successful a shootout, but location was nary “breakthrough.” He said nan colony of Tetkino had been shelled from nan Ukrainian broadside since nan morning.

There was nary confirmation of an incursion from Belgorod’s politician Vyacheslav Gladkov.

Russia’s defense ministry said that its equipped forces and separator units of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) had "thwarted an effort by nan Kyiv authorities to break into nan Russian separator territory successful nan Belgorod and Kursk regions."

The early greeting attacks were repelled, nan ministry said, and location were nary violations of nan authorities border. Up to 60 "Ukrainian terrorists" and 5 tanks were destroyed successful nan fighting, it added.

Near nan colony of Tetkino successful nan Kursk region, it said 4 attacks by "Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance groups" were repelled.

"Having suffered important losses, nan force was driven back," nan ministry said.

Moscow has consistently framed nan groups arsenic acting connected nan orders of nan Ukrainian military, while Kyiv has said they are acting of their ain accord.

Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s subject intelligence, said Tuesday that nan groups are made up of Russian citizens and enactment connected Russian territory independently of Ukraine. “We are astir apt talking astir a associated cognition of these units, successful peculiar successful Belgorod and Kursk regions,” Yusov told Radio Freedom, commenting connected nan reports of nan raids.

Russia heads to nan polls connected Friday for a three-day vote, which is each but guaranteed to spot Putin travel retired victorious connected a ballot pinch nary existent opposition. The Kremlin has tried to task an image of nationalist unity and stableness up of nan election, but Tuesday's attacks could go an unwelcome distraction.

Yuliya Talmazan

Yuliya Talmazan is simply a newsman for NBC News Digital, based successful London.