Russia Destroys Three Ukrainian Naval Drones in Attempted Attack on Key Bridge, Forcing Temporary Closure

Russia Destroys Ukrainian Naval Drones Targeting Key Bridge

Russia announced on Saturday that its forces successfully destroyed three Ukrainian naval drones that were attempting to attack a vital bridge connecting Russia to the annexed Crimea region. As a result, the bridge had to be temporarily closed for the third time in less than a year.

The Defense Ministry of Russia reported that one drone was destroyed on Friday night, while the remaining two were eliminated early Saturday morning. Ukrainian officials have not yet issued a response regarding this incident.

The Kerch bridge, which serves as a crucial supply route for Kremlin forces in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine, has been subject to numerous attacks since Russia initiated its full-scale invasion. In October, an explosion caused by a truck bomb resulted in three fatalities. Another attack in July led to the death of a couple and severe injuries to their daughter, leaving a section of the bridge hanging perilously.

Symbolically and logistically significant for Moscow, the bridge connects Crimea and Russia and plays a vital role in military and civilian supply operations, while also asserting Kremlin control over the annexed peninsula since 2014.

Escalation of Attacks

On Saturday afternoon, shelling in Russia’s Belgorod region, bordering Ukraine, resulted in the death of one civilian and injured two others, according to Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov. The region’s Valuysky district faced minor damages to a private residence and a car due to two Ukrainian drones, while a Russian air defense intercepted another drone in the Grayvoronsky district.

In the neighboring Kursk region, a woman sustained injuries during the shelling of a village. Regional Governor Roman Starovoit blamed Ukraine for the attack. Ukrainian authorities, however, usually refrain from commenting on incidents targeting Russian soil, as drone strikes and shelling along the Russian border regions occur regularly.

Meanwhile, in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, four individuals were wounded due to Ukrainian shelling, as confirmed by the Moscow-installed mayor Aleksei Kulemzin. Donetsk, the regional capital of the eastern Ukrainian province, came under the control of Russia-backed separatists in 2014 after Russia’s illegal annexation of four Ukrainian provinces in September.

The Ukrainian military reported that Russia carried out four missile strikes, 39 airstrikes, and 42 attacks from multiple rocket launchers in the previous 24 hours. In Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, one person was killed and two were injured during shelling, according to Governor Oleh Prokudin. In the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul announced that the anti-aircraft defense successfully repelled an attack, without providing details about the nature of the assault. Kryvyi Rih is President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown.

Concerns and Future Talks

British military officials expressed concerns on Saturday that Russia may divide its forces in an effort to prevent a breakthrough by Ukrainian troops in southern Ukraine. According to British intelligence, Ukrainian forces continued their offensive actions on the Orikhiv axis, with units advancing towards Russia’s first main defensive line.

Furthermore, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar stated on Friday that Kyiv’s troops were making progress in the Zaporizhzhia region.

In a separate development, Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to hold talks with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan next week. The meeting, which will take place in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, comes six weeks after Moscow terminated a deal brokered by Ankara and the U.N. that facilitated the safe transportation of Ukrainian grain to global markets amidst the ongoing 18-month war.

Related Stories