Russia downed 28 drones targeting Crimea overnight, Moscow's defense ministry and a local official claimed on Monday.
Nine drones were intercepted and shot down by Russian air defense systems in the eastern part of Crimea, while an additional 19 drones were neutralized through electronic warfare, Crimea's Russian-installed governor Sergei Aksyonov said on Telegram.
"There are no victims," he added.
The Russian Defense Ministry provided different details on the attack, stating that their air defense systems successfully destroyed 17 Ukrainian drones, while 11 more drones were downed through electronic warfare measures.
The precise targets of the drones have not been disclosed. However, the eastern part of the peninsula is home to the Crimean Bridge, a vital infrastructure connecting Crimea with mainland Russia.
This incident follows an explosion that occurred on the Crimean Bridge on the morning of July 17, resulting in minor damage to the Kerch Bridge and two casualties.
The explosion temporarily halted automobile traffic on the bridge. Russian authorities swiftly labeled the bridge demolition as a “terrorist act” perpetrated by the Ukrainian government, with President Vladimir Putin vowing to respond to the attack.
Official Ukrainian spokespeople formally denied involvement in the event. Natalia Humeniuk, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military forces, put the blame back on Russia and labeled it a “possible provocation.”
Humeniuk indicated that it was a “typical method” used by Russia to gain some advantage, given the Black Sea Grain Initiative is due to expire today.
She further speculated that detouring travelers through occupied southern Ukraine may be aimed at “saturating these regions with civilians” prior to the advance of Ukrainian forces and to then “accuse [Ukraine] of wrongdoing in the framework of the war.”
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