News Region & Country Ukraine

Ukraine launches drone strike inside the heart of Crimea

Russia is scaling back its Victory Day celebrations this week out of fear of Ukrainian sabotage.
Nicholas Slayton Avatar
FILE - Russian Black Sea fleet ships are anchored in one of the bays of Sevastopol, Crimea, March 31, 2014. (AP Photo, File)

A series of explosions rocked parts of Crimea near the city of Sevastopol over the weekend. A Russian-backed official in Crimea claimed it was an attack by Ukraine, carried out using aerial drones. 

“No objects [in Sevastopol] were damaged,” Mikhail Razvozhayev, the governor of Sevastopol, wrote on Telegram

Razvozhayev claimed that 10 Ukrainian drones were successfully stopped — with three specifically targeting sites in the port city — but posts on social media show and report multiple explosions near military installations in the peninsula. Ukraine has not commented on the apparent attack. It also comes the same day as Russia claims 22 other drones were stopped over the Black Sea. 

It’s the latest drone attack on Crimea in recent months. Ukraine has been using uncrewed aerial and underwater systems to target Russian military installations. One of the largest strikes was in October 2022, when Ukraine used a drone swarm — including a series of small, surface vessel drones — to target Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, damaging at least one ship. Crimea has been under Russian control since 2014. 

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The attack in Crimea also comes only a few days after Russia announced it would scale back some of its Victory Day celebrations on May 9. The day celebrates the victory over Nazi Germany in World  War II. Regional celebrations are being reduced in size and scope while Moscow is increasing the security measures in the city for Tuesday’s event. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov specifically cited Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory and occupied areas as a reason for the move. 

“We are of course aware that the Kyiv regime, which is behind a number of such attacks, terrorist acts, plans to continue its campaign,” Peskov said to reporters this week, per Sky News.

The attack on Crimea also comes only a few days after Ukraine claims it shot down a Russian hypersonic missile with an American Patriot missile system. Russia has been increasing its missile strikes into Ukraine, targeting Kyiv. On Saturday, the head of Ukraine’s Air Force claimed that Ukraine successfully shot down a Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missile with a Patriot system. It would be the first time Ukraine’s air defenses stopped a Russian hypersonic missile. 

The successful intercept happened on Thursday, May 4, Lt. Gen. Mykola Oleschuk, commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, posted on Telegram. His statement contradicts a previous denial given by the Ukrainian government the other day. 

“Yes, we brought down the ‘unparalleled’ Kinzhal!” Oleschuk wrote. 

UA Weapons Tracker, a Twitter account following different weapon systems being used by both sides of the war, examined wreckage from the missile and identified pieces of it as consistent with the Russian Kh-47M2 Kinzhal.

Oleschuk had previously said on April 27 that the second division of Patriot systems had been put into combat. 

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