Russia says Ukraine attacked Crimea with 38 drones

  • World
  • Sunday, 03 Mar 2024

(Reuters) - Russian air defence systems destroyed all 38 drones that Ukraine launched at the Crimean Peninsula early on Sunday, Russia's defence ministry said, after reports on Ukrainian and Russian social media of powerful explosions in the port of Feodosia.

The Russian defence ministry did not say whether there was any damage or casualties in its statement on the Telegram messaging app.

Road traffic near Feodosia was significantly restricted, Russian-installed officials in Crimea had said earlier. Traffic on the bridge linking the Crimean Peninsula to the Russian mainland was halted for couple hours before resuming at around 0140 GMT, Russian-installed officials in Crimea said on Telegram.

Russian and Ukrainian social media cited Feodosia residents as reporting powerful explosions were heard in the area of the seaport and an oil depot at about 2 a.m. local time on Sunday (2300 GMT on Saturday).

Reuters was not able to independently verify the reports of explosions. There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian officials.

The Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in a move condemned by Kyiv's allies in 2014, and the Black Sea that the peninsula borders have become a crucial theatre in the two-year war.

Ukraine's increased air and sea drone attacks on Russian military targets there have damaged or destroyed ships and naval repair yards in the port of Sevastopol and struck other targets.

Moscow uses its fleet in the Black Sea to launch long-range strikes on Ukraine. But for Russia's President Vladimir Putin, the waters that connect to the Mediterranean Sea are also an important springboard for projecting power into the Middle East and Europe.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said his troops have succeeded in diminishing Moscow's military strength in the Black Sea, which he said with greater support from Kyiv's allies could lead to his country's ultimate victory over Russia.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Jamie Freed)

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