HomeGlobal Defence UpdatesRussia-Ukraine war: Massive Ukrainian drone attack on Crimea leaves Sevastopol without power

Russia-Ukraine war: Massive Ukrainian drone attack on Crimea leaves Sevastopol without power

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KYIV: A massive Ukrainian drone attack on Crimea early Friday has left the city of Sevastopol without power and set a refinery ablaze in southern Russia, Russian authorities said.

The drone raids marked Kyiv’s attempt to strike back during Moscow’s offensive in northeastern Ukraine, which has added to the pressure on outnumbered and outgunned Ukrainian forces who are waiting for delayed deliveries of crucial weapons and ammunition from Western partners.

The Russian Defense Ministry said air defenses downed 51 Ukrainian drones over Crimea, another 44 over the Krasnodar region and six over the Belgorod region. It said Russian warplanes and patrol boats also destroyed six sea drones in the Black Sea.

Mikhail Razvozhayev, the governor of Sevastopol, which is the main base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, said the drone attack damaged the city’s power plant. He said it could take a day to restore energy supplies and announced schools in the city would be closed temporarily.

Earlier Ukrainian attacks damaged aircraft and a fuel storage facility at Belbek air base near Sevastopol, according to satellite images image released by Maxar Technologies.

In the Krasnodar region, the authorities said a drone attack early Friday caused a fire at an oil refinery in Tuapse which was later contained. There were no casualties. Ukraine has repeatedly targeted refineries and other energy facilities deep inside Russia, causing significant damage. Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops were fighting to halt Russian advances in the northeastern Kharkiv region that began late last week.

The town of Vovchansk, located just 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the Russian border, has been a hotspot in the fighting in recent days. Ukrainian authorities have evacuated some 8,000 civilians from the town. The Russian army’s usual tactic is to reduce towns and villages to ruins with aerial strikes before its units move in.

Russia has also been testing defenses at other points along the roughly 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front line snaking from north to south through eastern Ukraine. That line has barely changed over the past 18 months in what became a war of attrition. Recent Russian attacks have come in the eastern Donetsk region, as well as the Chernihiv and Sumy regions in the north and in the southern Zaporizhzhia region. The apparent aim is to stretch depleted Ukrainian resources and exploit weaknesses.

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