Russia says downed wave of Ukrainian drones nearing Crimea, Moscow

AFP , Thursday 10 Aug 2023

Russia downed 11 Ukrainian drones nearing Crimea and two headed for Moscow, officials said Thursday, the latest in a blitz of air strikes on Russian-held territory.

Rescuers working outside of a damaged church after Russian missiles struck Zaporizhzhia on August 9, 2023. AFP


"Two UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) flying in the direction of the city of Moscow were destroyed," the Russia's defence ministry said in a statement on Telegram.

It said one drone was shot down over the Kaluga region southwest of Moscow, and another over the Odintsovsky district bordering the capital.

Those drones were shot down at around 4:00 am (0100 GMT), Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Telegram.

Two other Ukrainian drones were shot down near the city of Sevastopol on the Crimean coast, the defence ministry said, and "another 9 were suppressed by means of electronic warfare and crashed in the Black Sea".

It said there were no reports of damage or casualties in any of the affected areas.

The strikes come a day after Russia said two Ukrainian combat drones headed for Moscow were shot down, and constitute at least the fourth attack near the capital within a week.

Russia previously said it downed a drone over Kaluga on Monday, as well as seven drones in the region last Thursday.

Until a series of attacks in recent months, Moscow had not been targeted during the conflict in Ukraine, which began more than a year ago.

 Attacks reach Russia 

The Russia-annexed Crimean peninsula, however, has been disrupted by several strikes throughout the hostilities, and has seen more frequent attacks in recent weeks.

Russia said Saturday it had downed a drone over the ocean near Sevastopol, the base of its Black Sea fleet.

Naval drones have targeted Russian vessels in the Black Sea several times in recent weeks, including an attack on an oil tanker on Saturday.

In July, Ukrainian drone strikes on Crimea blew up an ammunition depot and damaged the bridge across the Kerch Strait linking the peninsula to Russia's mainland.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned last month that "war" was coming to Russia, with the country's "symbolic centres and military bases" becoming targets.

Air attacks have multiplied since Kyiv began a counteroffensive in June, though Ukrainian forces have made modest advances on the ground in the face of stiff resistance from Moscow's troops.

On Wednesday, Russian officials said one person was killed and four others wounded by Ukrainian shelling on the border town of Gorkovsky in the southern Belgorod region, which has seen regular strikes.

On the other side of the front line, an oil depot in Ukraine's Rivne region was destroyed during a "massive drone attack" on Thursday, governor Vitaliy Koval said, adding that emergency services and investigators were on the scene.

On Wednesday, a strike killed two people in Ukraine's southern city of Zaporizhzhia, while shelling killed a woman and a young girl in the Donetsk region.

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