Russian authorities said Ukrainian drones were downed over northern Crimea on Monday night, while Ukraine’s Military Intelligence claimed the attacks destroyed Russian Kalibr cruise missiles.
“The mysterious series of blasts continues the process of Russia’s demilitarization and prepares the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea for de-occupation,” Ukrainian Military Intelligence said in a statement without formally taking credit for the attack.
The drones targeted Dzhankoy in northern Crimea, where local authorities said the attacks hit civilian areas. “All the drones targeted civilian facilities. One was shot down above a technical school and it fell on the land between the school building and the dormitory,” said Oleg Kryuchkov, an aide to the head of Crimea.
“There are no military facilities in the vicinity. The other [drones] were downed over residential areas. Apart from explosives, each had shrapnel in it,” Kryuchkov added.
Ukrainian officials have been vowing to retake the Crimean peninsula, which has been under Russian control since 2014, even though the Pentagon doesn’t think it’s a realistic goal and the people of Crimea are happy they’re part of the Russian Federation.
Despite the Pentagon’s view on Crimea and the risk of escalation, Biden administration officials have expressed they support Ukrainian attacks on the peninsula. The Monday night drone attack came after a US MQ-9 Reaper drone was downed in the Black Sea near Crimea after being intercepted by Russian fighters. Russian officials claimed that the MQ-9 was gathering targeting data for Kyiv.