April 13, 2024, Saturday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Russia thwarts 20 drones over Crimea

The Nepal Weekly
August 15, 2023

Russia thwarted an attack by 20 Ukrainian drones targeting Moscow-annexed Crimea overnight, the Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday. Fourteen drones were shot down by Russian air defenses and a further six were jammed electronically, according to the ministry. No casualties or damage were reported. Kyiv officials neither confirmed nor denied Ukraine’s involvement in the attacks.

As videos circulated on Russian social media Saturday appearing to show smoke rising above a bridge linking Russia to Crimea, the annexed peninsula’s Moscow-appointed governor, Sergei Aksyonov, reported that Russian air defense had also prevented an attack there by shooting down two Ukrainian missiles.

The bridge was not damaged, he said, although traffic was briefly halted. An adviser to Aksyonov, Oleg Kryuchkov, claimed that “a smoke screen was put up by special services.”

Russian Foreign Ministry “strongly condemned” the attempted attack on the Crimean bridge. The ministry said in a statement that such “barbaric actions” by the Armed Forces of Ukraine “will not go unanswered.”

Shortly after reporting the thwarting of the two Ukrainian missiles, Aksyonov said Russian air defense had shot down another missile over the Kerch Strait.

The bridge connecting Crimea and Russia across the Kerch Strait carries heavy significance for Moscow, both logistically and psychologically, as a key artery for military and civilian supplies and as an assertion of Kremlin control of the peninsula it illegally annexed in 2014.

Last week, a Ukrainian sea drone hit a Russian tanker near the bridge, while an attack on the bridge last month killed a couple and seriously wounded their daughter, leaving a span of the roadway hanging perilously. The damage looked  less severe than that caused by an assault in October, but it again highlighted the vulnerability of the bridge.

The attempted drone and missile attacks follow three consecutive days of drone attacks on the Russian capital, Moscow. Firing drones at Russia, after more than 17 months of war, has little apparent military value for Ukraine but the strategy has served to unsettle Russians and bring home to them the conflict’s consequences.

Drone attacks have increased in recent weeks both on Moscow and on Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 — a move that most of the world considered illegal.

Elsewhere, Russia claimed Saturday it had regained control of the village of Urozhaine in Ukraine’s easternmost Luhansk region in an overnight counterattack.

A 73-year-old woman was killed early Saturday morning in Russian shelling of Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, according to regional Gov. Oleh Syniehubov.