The Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday that its forces downed 19 Ukrainian drones over the Black Sea and Crimea, as Kyiv has stepped up attacks on the peninsula amid its faltering counteroffensive.
“In the night from 20th to 21st September, an attempt by the Kyiv regime to commit a terrorist attack with lethal drones on sites in the Russian Federation was intercepted,” the Russian Defense Ministry said on Telegram, according to Al Jazeera.
On top of the 19 drones downed over Crimea and the Black Sea, the ministry said another three were intercepted over the Russian oblasts of Kursk, Belgorod, and Oryol, according to TASS.
The Ukrainian attacks on Crimea and the Russian mainland risk an escalation of the war as Moscow believes the operations are assisted by the US and NATO. The Economist recently reported that Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian territory often use intelligence gathered by Kyiv’s Western backers.
Recent Ukrainian attacks on Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea were reportedly launched using British-provided Storm Shadow missiles, which have a range of 155 miles. The Telegraph reported that Ukraine used Storm Shadows to hit a command post belonging to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on Wednesday, but the attack was not confirmed by the Russian side.