Russia reported new Ukrainian drone attacks on Friday evening, a day after explosions near military bases in Russian-held areas of Ukraine. There were also explosions on the territory of Russia itself, which is a sign of Ukraine’s increasing ability to strike targets far from the front lines.
Last week there were massive explosions at a Russian airbase in Crimea, and Western intelligence estimates the attack disabled at least half of Russia’s combat aircraft in the Black Sea region.
Russian news agencies RIA and TASS report that Russian anti-aircraft forces went into action near Yevpatoria on Friday evening. A video posted by a Russian website shows what appears to be a surface-to-air missile hitting a target in Crimea. Reuters specifies that the authenticity of the video has not yet been verified.
TASS quoted a Russian official as saying that Russian anti-aircraft forces shot down six Ukrainian drones that attacked the town of Nova Kakhovka, east of Kherson. Ukraine says the return of Kherson is one of its top priorities at this stage of the war.
Separately, Russian military personnel in Crimea say they have shot down an unspecified number of Ukrainian drones over Sevastopol.
“The Ukrainian armed forces gave the Russians a magical evening,” said Serhii Khlan, a member of the Kherson regional council, which was dissolved by Russian occupation forces.
Multiple explosions were reported in Crimea the previous evening, including at targets near Sevastopol and one strike at the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. There were targets hit in Kerch near the Crimean bridge that connects the peninsula to Russia.
On Russian territory, two villages were evacuated after explosions at an ammunition depot in the Belgorod Region. The site is located more than 100 km (60 mi) from Ukrainian territory
Authorities in Kyiv refrain from official comment on incidents in Crimea or Russia, but unofficially there are hints that they are behind the attacks, carried out by long-range missiles and sabotage groups.
Russia denies Ukrainian successes in Crimea, but this week the head of the Russian Black Sea Fleet was fired.
Ukraine hopes that the ability to strike Russian targets far behind the front lines could turn the tide of the conflict, cutting off the occupiers’ supply lines.
The US is preparing a new security aid package for Ukraine, which is estimated at $775 million and includes mini-vehicle-resistant surveillance drones. Since last month, Ukraine has had Western-supplied missiles to strike behind Russian lines.
However, some of the Russian targets hit were outside the range of the munitions that Western countries said they had sent to Ukraine. This has led to many speculations that Ukraine has deployed its own Grom-2 missile systems, which can hit targets at a distance of 300 km.