Russia said Wednesday it had destroyed two Ukrainian naval drones that were advancing on its Black Sea port of Novorossiysk overnight.

Ukrainian naval drones have sunk several Russian ships in the Black Sea, but strikes as far east as Novorossiysk are rare.

"Two unmanned boats travelling in the direction of Novorossiysk were destroyed in the waters of the Black Sea," Russia's defence ministry said in a post on Telegram.

The major port city lies on Russia's southeastern coast, 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

The route from Ukrainian-held territory to the port is at least 500 kilometres (300 miles) through the Black Sea, around the southern tip of Crimea.

After a spate of successful Ukrainian strikes on Russian ships in the Black Sea, satellite images revealed Moscow pulled its Black Sea fleet out of its historic base in Sevastopol to Novorossiysk, which is harder for Ukraine to hit.

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The defence ministry published footage of what it said was the naval drones being destroyed.

It showed several bright rounds being fired into the sea at night from multiple directions, several hitting the waters next to a small craft before an explosion and fire break out.

Kyiv has heavily targeted Crimea since Russia launced its full-scale military offensive in February 2022, including multiple attacks and attempted strikes on the Kerch bridge, a vital road and rail route linking the peninsula to Russia.

British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 15 July 2024
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British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 15 July 2024

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