The Russian forces proclaimed Saturday they had dispatched three Ukrainian naval drones, preventing an assault on the pivotal Kerch bridge that links Russia to the Crimean Peninsula – a territory annexed by Moscow. This marked the latest in a series of interruptions to this strategic supply route; the third instance to occur in less than a year.
The destruction of one drone occurred late Friday, with the other two taken down in the early hours of Saturday, as reported by Russia’s Defence Ministry. Ukrainian officials offered no immediate reaction to these claims.
Since the commencement of Russia’s full-scale invasion, the Kerch bridge has been a repeated target of attack. The bridge bears substantial tactical and symbolic significance for Moscow as it facilitates the movement of both military and civilian supplies. Furthermore, it serves as a tangible demonstration of Russia’s dominance over the annexed peninsula.
An incident in October saw three fatalities occur due to a truck bomb explosion, as claimed by Russian authorities. In July, another assault on the bridge resulted in the tragic death of a couple and severe injuries to their daughter. Their attack damaged the bridge extensively, leaving one span of roadway in a precarious state.
Saturday also witnessed violence near Ukraine’s borders. One civilian was killed and two others injured during the shelling of Russia’s Belgorod region, adjacent to Ukraine. The region’s Valuysky district was attacked by two Ukrainian drones, causing slight damage to a private residence and a vehicle, while Russian air defense brought down another drone in the Grayvoronsky district.
The neighboring Kursk region, also bordering Ukraine, saw a woman injured during a round of shelling on Saturday. Regional governor Roman Starovoit condemned Ukraine as responsible for the shelling. Ukrainian authorities, who typically abstain from commenting on assaults on Russian territory, have not claimed responsibility for these attacks. Drone strikes and shellings on the Russian border regions are a commonplace occurrence.
Simultaneously, four individuals sustained injuries amidst Ukrainian shelling of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. This city, the regional capital of the namesake province, was illicitly annexed by Russia in September and has been controlled by Russia-backed separatists since 2014.
In other parts of Ukraine, more violence ensued. One individual was killed and two were injured during the shelling of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, while a 32-year-old police investigator lost his life and two others were wounded in the northeastern Sumy region town when shells hit their locations.
However, in some areas successful defense was reported. The central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih’s mayor, Oleksandr Vilkul, announced that the city’s anti-aircraft defense successfully repelled an attack.
Shifting to the global stage, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will be engaging in discussions with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan next week, according to an announcement by the Kremlin on Friday. Their meeting is slated to occur in Russia’s Black Sea resort city, Sochi.