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Media: Russia may be shutting down phone connection to prepare air defense

by Rachel Amran January 30, 2024 6:09 AM 2 min read
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Russia may be retooling aspects of its air defense system amid continued Ukrainian drone strikes within Russia, the Institute for the Study of War reported in its daily assessment on Jan. 29.

Russian state media Kommersant reported earlier today that the Russian Ministry of Digital Development ordered local authorities in Novgorod, Leningrad, and Pskov oblasts to block 4G LTE internet connection until June 30 so Russian officials can "fine-tune" anti-drone and air defense systems.

According to ISW, Novgorod, Pskov, and Leningrad oblasts announced disruptions to 4G LTE internet services between Jan. 25 and Jan. 30, possibly associated with technical adjustments to the "radio frequency spectrum."

Kommersant also reportedly stated that Voronezh Oblast is implementing similar changes that have been "planned at the federal level" and that many other Russian federal subjects are potentially pursuing these efforts.

Drone attacks inside Russian territory have increased in frequency over recent months.

A Dec. 30 strike on Belgorod, located about 40 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, reportedly killed 25 people and injured over 100. Officials in Belogorod claimed Ukrainian forces launched the attack, however, Ukraine did not claim responsibility.

Earlier this month, Novatek's gas-condensate plant caught fire at the port of Ust-Luga in Russia's Leningrad Oblast following a possible coordinated effort by Ukraine to strike key targets deep inside Russian territory. The Russian Defense Ministry also accused Ukraine of launching multiple drone attacks over Tula, Smolensk, and Oryol that same night.

Similarly, the Russian city of Voronezh declared a state of emergency on Jan. 16 following an overnight drone attack.

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