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Explosion rocks Russian city close to Ukraine border

Separately, a blast hit a major oil refinery in Russia’s Samara region.
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An explosion rocked the center of the Russian city of Taganrog near the border with Ukraine on Friday, injuring several people, the Kremlin said.

Elsewhere, prominent Russian lawmaker Alexander Khinshtein said in a Telegram post that an explosion had hit a major oil refinery in Russia’s Samara region, around 850 miles northwest of Taganrog.

Blaming Ukraine for the “terrorist attack on the residential infrastructure” in Taganrog, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a Telegram post that its defense systems had “detected and intercepted” a modified “Soviet-made S-200 missile”

It added that fragments of the missile had fallen on the city, damaging several buildings and injuring civilians.

The ministry did not say how many people had been injured, but Rostov's regional governor, Vasily Golubev, said in a post on his Telegram channel that 15 people had suffered minor injuries from shrapnel. No one had died, he added.

In a later Telegram post, he reduced the number of injured to 12, but he said 9 people had been hospitalized. One of the victims suffered a “traumatic brain injury,” and had surgery, he added.

In a later post Russia‘s Defense Ministry said it downed a second Ukrainian missile near the city of Azov, which like Taganrog is in the Rostov region. It added that debris fell in an unpopulated location.

NBC News has sought comment from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.

Without saying whether his country was behind the attack, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, later tweeted, “Everything happening in Russia, including Taganrog, is an unconditional consequence of the large-scale war initiated by Russia, uncontrolled processes of disintegration of management systems at various levels, and growing internal protests.”

Preliminary information suggested the blast in Samara was caused by an explosive device, Khinshtein said, adding that no one was injured and the damage was not serious.

Security services had detained the person behind the refinery explosion as he was trying to leave Russia, he said. Describing the suspect as “an employee” at the refinery, Khinshtein added that he had previously “moved to Russia from Ukraine.”

There were no immediate indications that the two incidents were connected.

Earlier Friday, a Ukrainian drone was shot down outside Moscow, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. It was the third drone strike or attempt on the capital region this month.

The ministry said there were no injuries or damage in the early morning incident. It didn’t give the exact location where the drone was shot down.

Two drones struck the Russian capital Monday, one of them falling in the center of the city near the Defense Ministry’s headquarters along the Moscow River about 2 miles from the Kremlin. The other drone hit an office building in southern Moscow, gutting several upper floors.

In Ukraine, Zelenskyy marked his country's Statehood Day by reaffirming its sovereignty — a rebuke to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who claimed that Ukraine didn’t exist as a nation to justify his invasion.