Explosions struck a Russian military base in Crimea on Friday, marking a dramatic escalation in the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
News emerging from the area indicates that Russian soldiers from the military base in Perevalne were injured and transported to a hospital in Simferopol.
The preceding day’s events saw Kyiv unleash a barrage of 42 drones onto the peninsula, a significant escalation in the use of this technology.
According to the Russian defense ministry, nine drones were successfully “destroyed,” while electronic warfare systems suppressed 33 others, causing them to crash before reaching their targets.
In a separate incident, Russian air defenses intercepted a drone and a modified S-200 missile over the Kaluga region, southwest of Moscow, on Friday morning.
Rising Drone Action in Ukraine
Russia’s Defense Ministry reported that its forces had downed a staggering 73 Ukrainian drones over the past 24 hours, highlighting the intense drone warfare now characterizing the conflict.
Friday’s events come soon after reports that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary group that fought alongside Russia, was on the passenger list of a private jet that crashed after taking off from Moscow.
Prigozhin had previously led a failed mutiny against Russian President Vladimir Putin in June, highlighting internal tensions within Russia’s military efforts.
Commando Unit Plants Flag
These developments follow Kyiv’s recent large-scale drone attack on the peninsula and a daring commando operation to plant the Ukrainian flag on Crimean soil.
This mission adds to the growing significance of the date marking its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 (24 August) among Ukrainians since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.
A recent poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology revealed that it is now the country’s third most important holiday, behind only Easter and Christmas.
Could Ukraine Retake Crimea?
In April, Ukraine unveiled a comprehensive 12-point plan for the potential reintegration of Crimea into its territory if it manages to recapture the region from Russia, who annexed it in 2014.
The plan includes renaming Sevastopol, a key Russian port on the Black Sea, and taking punitive measures against Crimean residents deemed collaborators with Russia.
Additionally, it calls for the demolition of the Kerch Strait Bridge connecting Crimea to Russia, the expulsion of recent Russian settlers, and the annulment of property transactions under Russian rule.
While the plan signals Ukraine’s determination, experts suggest that practical challenges, including Russian defenses and the absence of long-range missiles, may delay its implementation. The US, while supportive of Ukraine, is cautious about further escalation.
Analysts warn of potential nuclear risks associated with any offensive to retake Crimea.
Is The Counter-offensive Working?
Ukraine’s counter-offensive, launched in June to expel Russian forces from captured territories in the east and south, has faced challenges. The BBC has suggested the extent of reclaimed land has been relatively small.
Meanwhile, experts at the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) note that recent advances near Robotyne and Urozhaine are “likely tactically significant because of the structure of Russian defensive lines.”
Both sides have accused eech other of conducting drone attacks, with Ukraine’s most recent strike targeting a skyscraper under construction in Moscow on August 23.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.
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