Russia Claims to Foil Major Ukrainian Attack on Crimea

The Russian Defense Ministry reported downing over a dozen drones targeting the peninsula

Ukraine launched one of its largest drone attacks targeting the Crimean Peninsula since Russia invaded the country last year. The Russian Defense Ministry reported downing 16 Ukrainian drones near or above Crimea. The attack on the critical peninsula comes as Russian forces are close to taking a key city in the Donbas.

According to the Associated Press, Kyiv “launched one of the biggest drone attacks on the Crimean Peninsula” on Thursday. According to a Defense Ministry statement published by TASS, Russian state media,  “an attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack using aerial drones against sites on the territory of the Russian Federation was thwarted.” It continued, “Air defense systems destroyed 16 drones, including 13 over the Crimean Peninsula and three over the territory of the Volgograd region.”

The Russian statement did not comment on damage or casualties caused by the intercepted drones. The AP notes that it could not independently confirm the Russian claims, and Ukraine has not issued a statement.

After Washington backed a coup in Kyiv in 2014 that ushered in an ultra-nationalist Ukrainian government, the heavily Russian population of Crimea was annexed by Moscow, a decision supported by the people of the peninsula. Ukrainian President Zelensky has pledged that he will continue to fight the Russian occupation of his country until Crimea is reclaimed.

However, Moscow views the peninsula as historically part of Russia and crucial to its strategic position. Additionally, Kyiv ordered thousands of its soldiers to attempt to retake Crimea this summer, only to gain almost no territory toward that objective.

Moscow has focused its forces on taking Avdiivka, a city in the northeastern Donetsk region. The city is viewed as strategic to the front lines in Ukraine’s Donbas. Avdiivka had a pre-war population of 32,000, which has shrunk to just over 1,000. According to SouthFront, Russian forces are making gains north of the city and slowly encircling Avdiivka.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.