A mystery object described by one local news outlet as a “UFO” has been shot down in the southern Russian region of Rostov.
Vasily Golubev, the governor of Rostov oblast, wrote on Telegram that a “small-size object in the shape of a ball” had been discovered flying “in the wind” at an altitude of around one and a half miles on January 3. With the object spotted above the village of Sultan Sala in the region’s Myasnikovsky district, Golubev said “the decision was taken to liquidate it.”
“I urge everyone to remain calm. To ensure security, all forces and means are involved. The sky is covered with anti-aircraft defenses,” he added, without specifying what the object was.
In reporting his comments, local news outlet Pivyet Rostov carried a headline that said “a UFO in the form of a ball was shot down in the sky.”
Telegram channels that night described how air defense systems in Rostov had been operating. The channel Ostorozhna, Novosti (Caution, News) published a video showing a shining object flying and then exploding in the sky.
“Look, another one has gone,” someone is heard saying in the clip, which was captioned, “another video of the work of Rostov regional air defenses.” A witness told the channel how “there was a very strong explosion” and that “everything in the house shook. We realized that the air defenses were in operation.”
Rostov borders the Sea of Azov, which is connected to the Black Sea by the Strait of Kerch, a strategic location for both sides of the war in Ukraine. Since the start of Vladimir Putin‘s invasion, the oblast near Ukraine has been subjected to regular shelling and drone attacks.
In October, Rostov was named as one of six Russian regions and two annexed regions in which Putin introduced a “medium-response level” to the threats posed by the war. This includes restrictions on movement and strengthening public order measures.
He also announced a “maximum response”—effectively martial law—on the four regions he claimed to have annexed but does not fully control; Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk.
Ukrainian drone attacks are believed to have been behind strikes on Russian airbases in December that reportedly damaged aircraft. Kyiv has not directly claimed responsibility for the strikes on the Dyagilevo and Engels air bases, located in Ryazan and Saratov respectively.
However, Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s chief military intelligence official, welcomed the attacks, which have reportedly forced Russia to station its bombers in the Far East.
Budanov told ABC News that Putin could expect attacks “deeper and deeper” inside Russia.