An explosion rocked a Russian naval base in Crimea, a region occupied by Russia, on Friday. This incident coincided with what seems to be Ukraine’s most extensive drone attack to date. The explosion sent plumes of smoke into the air at a military training base located in Perevalne, near Simferopol, where Russia’s 126th Coastal Defence Brigade of the Black Sea Fleet was stationed.
Both Ukrainian and Russian sources have indicated that drones managed to breach Moscow’s defenses and cause damage to the facility. The Russian defense ministry initially claimed that it had successfully countered the attack by downing 42 drones near the occupied peninsula.
This drone assault from Ukraine represents one of the most significant aerial attacks on Crimea, comparable to some of Russia’s major offensives on Ukrainian cities. A well-known Russian blogger described it as the “most massive drone raid on Crimea in recent months.”
Ivan Federov, the Ukrainian mayor of the city of Melitopol under Russian control, reported the apparent explosions at the Perevalne military base. According to his message on the Telegram messaging app, around 300 Russian soldiers who were injured were taken to a hospital in nearby Simferopol.
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Russian military blogger Boris Rozhin, who boasts a large following, stated that most of the Ukrainian drones had been intercepted or neutralized by electronic warfare systems. While some managed to reach the Perevalne training ground, they were jammed by electronic warfare, causing some to land and damage two Kamaz lorries.
Russia’s defense ministry confirmed that nine of the drones were destroyed over Crimea’s territory, in line with Rozhin’s account. The ministry also stated that 33 more drones were suppressed by electronic countermeasures and crashed before reaching their intended targets.
Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for the Kremlin, noted that the air defense systems effectively responded to the attacks. He labeled the recent string of Ukrainian drone assaults as “terrorist activity,” primarily aimed at residential areas. Peskov emphasized that the same concerns applied to Crimea, and necessary measures were being taken.
Over the past week, Ukrainian forces escalated their attacks on Russian targets in Crimea, targeting military logistics and efforts to resupply forces in southern Ukraine. The recent strikes marked the third consecutive day of Ukrainian assaults on the peninsula, which Russia unlawfully annexed in 2014.
Major-General Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, expressed hope that the heightened focus on Crimea would remind people that its liberation was not far off. He hinted that this wouldn’t be the end, anticipating a ground operation and the return of territories.
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In a bold amphibious raid, Ukrainian commandos damaged a Russian Air Force radar base on the Crimean coast. Special forces operatives landed near the resort village of Mayak, knocking out several radar systems and causing lasting disruption. These commandos also inflicted casualties on Russian troops before escaping.
Additionally, Ukraine claimed to have destroyed a sophisticated S-400 missile battery through a drone strike on the Crimean peninsula. The choice of targets for these strikes—important airfields, air defense positions, and training camps—was strategically significant.
As of now, Kyiv has not commented on the aerial bombardment of Crimea. In a separate incident, Russia reported detecting and destroying a Ukrainian S-200 missile near the Kaluga region, bordering Moscow. This region houses the Shaykovka air base, from which Russian Tu-22 bombers launch missiles at Ukraine. Flights to and from Moscow’s main airports were briefly suspended without clear explanation.