Ukraine war Russia says it intercepted 38 Ukrainian drones attacking

Ukraine war: Russia says it intercepted 38 Ukrainian drones attacking Crimea

March 3, 2024, 10:20 GMT

Updated 17 minutes ago

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The Kerch Bridge, which connects Crimea and Russia, was temporarily closed following the attack

A series of explosions have rocked Crimea following reports of a Ukrainian drone strike on the peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Video posted online purportedly shows an explosion near a fuel depot in the southeastern city of Feodosiya.

Russian officials said 38 drones were shot down. The Kerch Bridge, which connects Crimea with Russia, has been temporarily closed.

The attack comes as Ukraine continues to push its allies to increase arms supplies.

Russian troops have recently made gains in Ukraine as Kiev struggles to supply its forces with Western-made weapons. Moscow took control of the key eastern city of Avdiivka last month.

However, according to British military intelligence, this came at enormous cost. The latest update said February was the deadliest for the Russians since the full-scale invasion began on February 24, 2022 – with 983 dead and wounded per day.

“Today, Russia has most likely lost over 355,000 soldiers killed or wounded during the Ukraine War,” it said. It is not clear how this number came about.

Russia does not provide any information about the victims. A few days ago, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine had lost 31,000 soldiers since February 2022.

Russia has reported no damage from the latest attack on Crimea, but witnesses reported windows shaking and car alarms going off. Kiev has not confirmed that its forces were involved.

On Saturday, a Russian drone hit an apartment block in the Ukrainian city of Odessa, killing at least 10 people, including three young children.

According to Ukrainian officials, Russia attacked the southern Kherson region on Sunday, killing one person and wounding another three.

Russian forces have fired thousands of Iranian-made drones at Ukrainian targets since entering the country more than two years ago.

In retaliation, Ukraine has targeted Russian sites, particularly oil facilities.

On Saturday, a drone hit a residential building in St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city. About 100 people were evacuated and there were no reports of casualties.

Image source: Getty Images

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Russia is using Iranian-supplied drones while Ukraine is suffering from a decline in Western arms supplies

With its air bases, troop concentrations, training areas and the Black Sea Fleet, Crimea is an important target for the Ukrainians.

At some point last year it was believed to have intended to launch a major attack to retake the peninsula.

In particular, Ukraine has repeatedly attacked the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Satellite images showed last year that many of the warships based in Crimea had left the peninsula for the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.

The Russian landing ship Caesar Kunikov was sunk off the coast of Crimea last month, according to Ukrainian forces.

Her sister ship Novocherkassk was hit in the port of Feodosiya in December last year.

In one of the largest attacks on the Black Sea Fleet last September, Ukraine attacked naval targets and port infrastructure, using up to 10 missiles and three unmanned boats. It caused a major fire at a shipyard in Sevastopol.

Ukraine has also attacked the Kerch Bridge several times as it is a key supply route for Russian forces occupying parts of the country's south.

Kiev has repeatedly said it plans to recapture Crimea and all Russian-occupied territories.

Ukraine urgently relies on arms supplies from the US and other Western allies to continue the fight against Russia – a much larger force with a wealth of weapons and artillery.

Ukrainian troops are running out of ammunition as former US President Donald Trump's supporters in Congress refuse to approve a $61 billion (£48 billion) military aid package.