Ukrainian drones can strike deep into Russia but Moscow is safe, Russian official says

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Ukrainian drones have the capability of striking up to 2,500 kilometres (1,553 miles) into Russia, but the capital Moscow has been protected from their strikes, a senior Russian airforce official warned on Wednesday.

The statement from Dmitry Bogdanov, head of the radio-electronic warfare department of the Russian Aerospace Forces, was carried by the TASS state news agency and suggests that a wide swath of Russian territory bordering Ukraine is vulnerable to potential attack.

"The enemy is not standing still," Bogdanov was quoted as saying.

"Now unmanned aerial vehicles can traverse an area of up to 2,500 kilometres, and many (Russian) regions are aware of this,", Bogdanov told a security conference, TASS reported.

Bogdanov said measures had been taken to protect Moscow, the Russian capital, from Ukrainian drone attacks and that other regions were working on their defences.

Since the start of the year, Russia has been hit by a barrage of drone attacks from Ukraine, which have struck critical oil refining infrastructure in the world's second-largest crude exporter and shaken global markets.

Ukraine does not officially confirm or deny it is attacking refineries inside Russia, but it says such sites are legitimate targets as they aid Moscow's military effort at a time when Russian strikes are pounding Ukrainian infrastructure, including energy facilities.

In what would be one of the deepest attempted drone strikes on Russian territory since the start of the Ukraine conflict, a Kyiv source said on Monday that a Ukrainian drone had targeted a Russian early-warning military radar system in the Orenburg region some 1,500 km (932 miles) away from the closest Ukrainian-held territory.

Moscow has not officially confirmed the attack.

Russia's deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said last week that more was being done to protect the country's energy infrastructure from drones, including installing anti-drone nets at key facilities.

Moscow has been attacked by Ukrainian drones several times since the start of what Russia calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine.

A major barrage in May last year saw two drones fly towards the Kremlin complex overlooking Red Square before they were destroyed. The Kremlin accused Kyiv of trying to assassinate President Vladimir Putin, an assertion Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy rejected.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Andrew Osborn and Sharon Singleton)