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Russia annexes Crimea, Ukraine launches drone attack

On Friday night, a day after explosions near military sites in Russia and Ukrainian territory under Russian control, Russia claimed more Ukrainian drone attacks, seemingly demonstrating Kyiv’s growing ability to batter Moscow’s assets far from the front lines.

The most recent incidents occurred following large explosions at a Russian-occupied air base in Crimea last week. According to a recent Western official assessment, the incident rendered half of Russia’s Black Sea naval aviation force instantly worthless.

According to a local official in Crimea quoted by Russia’s RIA and Tass news agencies, Russian anti-aircraft units were seen in action on Friday night near the western Crimean port of Yevpatoriya. A video of what appeared to be a ground-to-air missile striking a target was published on a Russian website. Reuters was unable to immediately confirm the video’s accuracy.

Six Ukrainian drones sent to attack the settlement of Nova Kakhovka, east of Kherson, were shot down by Russian anti-aircraft forces. Retaking Kherson is one of Ukraine’s top priorities, according to the country. Separately, a Crimean official reported that an undetermined number of drones had been shot down by the region’s defences over Sevastopol, according to a local official quoted by the Associated Press.

Seriy Khlan, a member of the Kherson regional council that was abolished by Russian occupation forces, remarked that ‘the Ukrainian armed forces treated the Russians to a magical evening’. Several explosions had been reported the previous evening in Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014, including ones in Sevastopol, the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s base, and Kerch, near a massive bridge to Russia.

The Zaporizhzhia complex, a frontline nuclear power plant, was also the target of dire threats from Ukraine, which claimed that Moscow was planning a ‘large-scale provocation’ to use as an excuse to disconnect the plant from the Ukrainian power grid and connect it to Russia’s.