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Police in Russia debut anti-drone unit following Kremlin incident

(Reuters) - Police in the Russian city of St. Petersburg have created a new anti-drone unit to detect unmanned aerial vehicles following a purported drone attack on the Kremlin earlier this month, they announced on Friday.

The unit launched on May 9 during the annual World War Two Victory Day celebrations on St. Petersburg’s Palace Square, the city's interior ministry said.

Its purpose is to “ensure the protection of public order” during large public events, Roman Uvarov, the department’s head, said in a video message.

The unit will include officers armed with sniper rifles and carbines, groups trained to neutralise unmanned aerial vehicles, and mobile patrols to detain those suspected of operating drones.

Video footage from this year's Victory Day parade showed heavily armed officers standing on rooftops above Palace Square holding drone-detection equipment and groups of snipers patrolling along the nearby Neva river in boats.

Russian energy and military facilities have been hit by a wave of drone attacks since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine last year. Kyiv has not officially claimed responsibility for the attacks, while sometimes hinting at its involvement.

Two drones were filmed over the Kremlin earlier this month before being destroyed without causing any serious harm.

The Kremlin blamed Ukraine and the United States, which both denied involvement.

(Reporting by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Andrew Osborn)