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Moscow says it has foiled new Ukrainian attack in Crimea

Genya Savilov Agence France-Presse Ukrainian firefighters confront a residential building destroyed by Russian bombing in central kyiv last Tuesday.

France Media Agency in Moscow and kyiv

January 4, 2024

  • Europe

Russia claimed to have repelled a new Ukrainian drone attack on the annexed Crimean peninsula early Friday (local time), amid an increase in strikes from both sides.

“Operational air defense systems destroyed and intercepted 36 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles over the territory of the Republic of Crimea,” annexed by Moscow in 2014, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported. Defense on Telegram, claiming to have “foiled” the attack.

Another drone ordered by kyiv was also destroyed in the Krasnodar region (west), according to the same source.

On Thursday, Moscow said it had shot down ten Ukrainian missiles aimed at Sevastopol in Crimea, fragments of which falling in populated areas injured at least one person, according to the city's governor Mikhail Razvojaïev. During the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, another missile was shot down off the coast of this city housing the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

“This was the most massive attack in recent times,” noted Mikhail Razvojaev.

Crimea is a key region for the logistics of Russian forces which occupy part of southern Ukraine. This territory is regularly the target of Ukrainian missiles and drones.

These attacks take place in a context of escalation of Russian strikes in Ukraine and Ukrainian strikes in Russia and in the occupied zones.

The Russian town of Belgorod was also the target of a new series of Ukrainian bombings late Thursday, a few hours after schools in the region had received orders to extend their closure during the holidays due to the risk of new attacks.

New strikes and school closures

Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said at least two people were injured in the latest shelling of the city, as Telegram channels broadcast what appeared to be footage of damaged cars in the city.

“According to preliminary data, there are two victims. One man was injured by shrapnel in the forearm, the other was injured by shrapnel in the shin,” he said.

“Our air defense system operated over Belgorod and its district. Ten aerial targets were shot down as they approached the city,” he added.

If the Kremlin has been trying for almost two years to hide the reality of the war from the population, the strike on the city of Belgorod on December 30 showed that Russian territory and civilians could be drawn into the conflict.

This is the heaviest death toll in Russia since February 24, 2022, the date the invasion of Ukraine began: 25 dead and around a hundred injured in this city of 335,000 inhabitants, 50 km from the border with Ukraine.

It was struck the day after a massive bombardment of Ukrainian cities that left 55 dead, including at least 32 in kyiv, the bloodiest death toll for the Ukrainian capital since the start of the war.

On Thursday, after new strikes in the previous days, the regional authorities of Belgorod were forced to extend school holidays in schools in the municipality and surrounding localities.

“I report the decisions that were taken [at the end of a meeting between officials]: Extend the school holidays from January 9 to 19,” Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram.

In technical colleges and universities located in the localities affected by the measures, “it is recommended to organize remote sessions. If necessary, extend the vacation,” he added.

Mr. Gladkov did not specify the reasons for this emergency decision but his region seems particularly targeted by Ukrainian reprisals following Russian bombings.

Keystrokes in response

In addition to the deadly attack on December 30, Belgorod was targeted on Tuesday, after Russian attacks on Kiev and Kharkiv (six dead), by four successive waves of Ukrainian missiles, which left one dead and eleven injured.

Kiev has said nothing about these bombings on Russian territory but they seem to be part of a new tactic: Responding to strikes on Ukrainian cities with strikes on Russian cities.

This escalation comes while the front has been largely frozen for more than a year, even if the Russians have taken the initiative on the battlefield since the failure of the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the summer of 2023. < /p>

The Russian army has intensified its missile launches and explosive drone launches to, according to experts interviewed by AFP, test and saturate Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense, while depleting its stocks of Western munitions .

It is also about hitting the Ukrainian defense industry, which kyiv is trying to strengthen to compensate for the erosion of Western aid.

A tactic which worries the general staff of the Ukrainian army, a high-ranking officer of which revealed to AFP that the mobile anti-aircraft defense now only had enough ammunition to cope to “a few” new large-scale Russian strikes.

He, like President Volodymyr Zelensky and his bodyguards, demanded from their Western allies “more” munitions and other modern systems capable of responding to the Russian armada.

A NATO-Ukraine meeting is scheduled to take place on this subject on January 17 in Brussels, at the request of kyiv.


On Thursday, three civilians were again killed in the Russian bombardment of the regions of Kirovograd (center), Kherson (south) and Donetsk (east). Another person died the day before in the latter region.

The upsurge in hostilities in recent days, however, did not prevent the largest exchange of prisoners between Kiev and Moscow from taking place on Wednesday, the first since August 2023.

More than 230 soldiers from each side were released, and on Thursday, a Ukrainian military doctor, released the day before, said “yes” to her fiancé’s marriage proposal. The latter had fought together in Mariupol, during the terrible siege of this southeastern city in the spring of 2022.

On the economic level, Ukraine must finally face once again the blockage of the four main border crossings with Poland, a country allied with Kiev but whose farmers have been demanding for several months the end of the system of exemption from work permits in the EU enjoyed by their Ukrainian counterparts.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116