Russia reported new Ukrainian drone attacks on Friday evening, a day after explosions erupted near military bases in Russian-held areas of Ukraine and Russia itself, clear demonstrations of Kyiv’s growing ability to pummelled Moscow’s assets far from the front lines.
On Friday evening, Russia reported new Ukrainian drone attacks, a day after explosions erupted near military bases in Russian-held areas of Ukraine and Russia itself, apparent displays of Kyiv’s growing ability to pummelled Moscow’s assets far from the front lines.
Last week, the latest incidents came on the heels of massive explosions at a Russian-annexed Crimean air base. According to a new assessment, the incident rendered half of Russia’s Black Sea naval aviation force inoperable.
According to Russia’s RIA and Tass news agencies, which cited a local official in Crimea, Russian anti-aircraft forces were in action near the western Crimean port of Yevpatoriya on Friday night. A video posted on a Russian website showed a ground-to-air missile striking a target. Reuters was unable to confirm the video’s authenticity right away.
According to a local official, Russian anti-aircraft forces shot down six Ukrainian drones sent to attack the town of Nova Kakhovka, east of Kherson. Ukraine has stated that retaking Kherson is one of its top priorities. Separately, a Crimean official said that defenses in the region had shot down an unspecified number of drones over the city of Sevastopol.
“The Ukrainian armed forces provided a magical evening for the Russians,” said Series Khlan, a Kherson’s regional council member, disbanded by Russian occupation forces. Multiple explosions had been reported the night before in Crimea, which Moscow seized in 2014, including near Sevastopol, the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, and near Kerch, near a massive bridge to Russia.
Two villages in Russia were evacuated after explosions at an ammunition dump in Belgorod province, more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Ukrainian-controlled territory.
Kyiv has withheld official comments on incidents in Crimea or Russia while implying that it is responsible for using long-range weapons or sabotage. According to a Western official, at least some incidents were caused by Ukrainian attacks, with Kyiv consistently achieving “kinetic effects” deep behind Russia’s lines.
Massive explosions on August 9 at Russia’s Saky air base on the Crimean coast had rendered more than half of the Black Sea Fleet’s combat jets inoperable, according to an official, in what would be one of the war’s most expensive attacks.
Although satellite images showed at least eight burnt-out warplanes and several massive craters, Russia has denied that aircraft were damaged in what it called an accident. This week, Moscow removed the commander of the Black Sea Fleet.
Ukraine hopes that its apparent newfound ability to hit Russian targets behind the front lines will help turn the tide of the conflict by disrupting supply lines that Moscow requires to support its occupation.
On Friday, a senior US defense official said that US President Joe Biden’s administration was preparing another $775 million security assistance package for Ukraine, which would include surveillance drones and, for the first time, mine-resistant vehicles. Ukraine has been using Western-supplied rockets to attack behind Russian lines since last month. Some of the explosions reported in Crimea and Belgorod were beyond the range of ammunition that Western countries have admitted sending so far.
According to a senior Ukrainian official, roughly half of the Crimea incidents were caused by some kind of Ukrainian attack, while Russia’s poor operations caused the other half. He emphasized that saboteurs rather than long-range weapons carried out the attacks, but he would not say whether Kyiv now possessed ATACMS, a longer-range version of the US HIMARS rockets that it began using in June.
According to the official, who did not want to be identified, Ukraine hoped its strikes would have a greater impact on reducing Russian artillery power, but Moscow was adapting.
CONCERN ABOUT NUCLEAR PLANT
Ukraine also issued dire warnings about a frontline nuclear power station, the Zaporizhzhia complex, claiming that Moscow was planning a “large-scale provocation” to justify disconnecting the plant from the Ukrainian power grid and connecting it to Russia’s.
“If Russia’s nuclear blackmail continues, this summer could go down in European history as one of the most tragic of all time. Because no nuclear power plant in the world has a procedure in place for a terrorist state to turn a nuclear power plant into a target, “In an address delivered Friday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy stated.
In a continuation of the blame game, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of shelling the complex, threatening a nuclear disaster.
Ukraine’s nuclear power operator said on Friday that it suspected Moscow of planning to connect the Zaporizhzhia plant to Russia’s power grid, a complex operation Kyiv fears could endanger the plant. Russian troops control the power station, which is located on the bank of a reservoir.
The opposing bank is under Ukrainian control. According to the Kremlin’s readout, Moscow has rejected international calls to demilitarise the plant, and Putin reiterated his accusation that Kyiv was shelling it in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday.
According to Macron’s office, Putin agreed to an International Atomic Energy Agency mission to Zaporizhzhia (IAEA). Since Russia launched its invasion on February 24, thousands of people have been killed, and millions have been forced to flee.
Its goal was to demilitarise Ukraine and protect Russian speakers in what Putin called “historic Russian land.” Ukraine and Western countries see it as a conquest war to erase Ukraine’s national identity.