Russia has neutralized 42 Ukrainian drones near Crimea, the defense ministry said on Friday, in the largest recent airstrike on that peninsula, which Kiev claimed the day before a ground attack by his special forces.
This area, annexed by Moscow in 2014, has been a target of Ukrainian troops since the beginning of the Russian offensive, but these attacks have intensified in recent weeks.
“Nine drones were destroyed after firing at the territory of the Republic of Crimea. 33 drones were neutralized by electronic warfare and crashed without reaching their destination,” the Russian ministry reported on Telegram.
The source did not provide any information on possible material or human damage from the attack or the crash of the downed drones.
The Moscow-appointed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Rasvozhayev, had previously stated that several drones had been destroyed.s “in the region of Cape Chersonese”about 10 km from this city, which hosts the Russian fleet in the Black Sea.
The forces found “no damage to civilian infrastructure,” said the governor. “All armed forces and units are ready for battle”he added.
Ukraine has not concealed its intention to regain this peninsula in the Black Sea. Recently, it has increased military pressure on the country through air and sea drone strikes.
At the end of July, Moscow reported that it had shot down 25 of these devices flying to the peninsula. In the middle of the same month, the swarm reached 28 drones.
In addition to the massive attack on Crimea, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it intercepted a Ukrainian missile aimed at “civilian targets” in the Kaluga region on the Moscow border.
“No one was injured and there is no damage to infrastructure,” regional governor Vladislav Shapsha said on Telegram.
Commando operation in the Crimea
On the eve, coinciding with the Independence Day, Ukraine celebrated the conduct of a commando operation in Crimea Special forces who hoisted the national flag in that area.
Ukrainian military intelligence did not provide details of the mission, but noted that they entered by sea, achieved their objectives and left the site “without casualties”.
And on Wednesday, the same source reported the destruction of a powerful Russian surface-to-air missile system in Crimea as well.
These measures are related to the counter-offensive launched by Kiev to retake the country under Russian control, but progress is slower than expected.
The Ukrainian authorities under their President Volodymyr Zelenskyy have repeatedly asserted that they need modern combat aircraft to change the situation.
After several requests, Kiev has received commitments from Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway to supply US F-16 fighter jets. However, in order to use them, Ukrainian pilots need to train.
The Pentagon announced Thursday that it will begin training several of them in the United States next month. The process will take between five and eight months, depending on the skills of the trainees.
Zelenskyy spoke to his counterpart Joe Biden on the phone about the issue and made sure that other countries quickly agreed to sending their F-16s to Ukraine after completing the training, the White House said.
Putin talks about Prigozhin
The conflict has been rocked in recent hours by Wednesday’s plane crash near Moscow, which apparently killed the head of the Wagner paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
President Vladimir Putin expressed the Kremlin’s initial reaction to the incident praised his “contribution” in Ukraine on Thursday and expressed condolences to the families of the victims of the event. The still-mysterious accident with no survivors, just two months after the Wagner group’s uprising against the Russian general staff, has fueled speculation that an assassination may be planned.
Both Zelenskyy and Biden had their sights set on Putin. “I don’t really know what happened yet, but I’m not surprised,” Biden told reporters Wednesday. “Few things happen in Russia without Putin having anything to do with them”he added.