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Aug 25 – According to Russia’s defence ministry, its air defence troops destroyed a large-scale Ukrainian-launched drone strike on the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Crimea has been attacked by Kiev since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but has recently been subjected to more intensive, escalated attacks.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, nine drones were shot down, while 33 others were “suppressed by electronic warfare and crashed without reaching the target.”
It did not elaborate on whether there had been any damage or casualties. It added that it had also shot down a Ukraine-launched missile over the Kaluga region, which borders the Moscow region.
Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Moscow-installed governor of the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, said on the Telegram messaging app that several drones were destroyed over the Khersones promontory. The cape is located on the outskirts of Sevastopol, which is home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet.
It was not clear whether those drones were among the 42 reported by the defence ministry.
“All forces and services are in a state of combat readiness,” Razvozhayev stated.
Ukraine has consistently stated its intention to retake Crimea, and the drone attack comes only two days after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told a Crimea conference that the peninsula would be “de-occupied like all other parts of Ukraine that are unfortunately still under the occupier.”
Ukraine said on Thursday that its forces had landed on the peninsula and raised the country’s flag as part of a “special operation” to commemorate the country’s second wartime Independence Day.
The special forces personnel landed near the towns of Olenivka and Mayak on Crimea’s western shore, where they “engaged in combat,” according to Ukraine’s GUR intelligence agency.
Moscow has also accused Ukraine of targeting the Russian-built bridge that connects the peninsula to Russia and serves as a vital supply route for Russian forces.
The bridge, which is the only way to cross the Kerch Strait, has been closed owing to a number of mishaps, including an explosion in July.
Russia has showed no signs of relinquishing Crimea, which it has used as a launch platform for missiles aimed against Ukrainian targets.
Moscow assumed control of Crimea following a referendum held nine years after Russian soldiers invaded the peninsula, claiming that the inhabitants of Crimea, who primarily speak Russian, wanted to be a part of Russia.
The vote was called a fraud by Ukraine, and the international community does not acknowledge Moscow’s rule.