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Russia thwarts attacks on Crimea Bridge as Ukrainian strikes leave at least 3 dead

This screenshot from video taken on July 17, 2023 shows a section of the road sloping to one side following a Ukrainian maritime drone attack on a strategic bridge in Crimea. (File photo by Reuters)

Russia says its forces have thwarted another Ukrainian drone attack, which targeted a strategic bridge in Crimea, as Kiev forces’ shelling and missile strikes left at least three people dead.

According to a statement by Russia’s Defense Ministry, three naval drones have been destroyed, one on late Friday and two others early Saturday morning.

“On September 1, at about 11:15 pm Moscow time, the Kiev regime attempted to launch a terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge using a semi-submersible unmanned boat,” the Defense Ministry said in its brief statement, adding that the hostile craft was “promptly detected and destroyed” in the Black Sea.

Three hours later, at around 2:10 am on Saturday, another drone was destroyed in the area as it also attempted to strike the bridge, the Russian military said. A third incoming unmanned boat was reportedly neutralized at 2:20 a.m.

All traffic on the Kerch Bridge, which is a key supply route for the Russian troops fighting against the Ukraine forces, was briefly stopped as a precaution on Friday evening, and restored after 3 a.m. local time.

Elsewhere, a Ukrainian artillery attack on Russia’s Belgorod Region left one person dead and two others wounded, Belgorod Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov said.

Two Ukrainian drones attacked the region’s Valuysky district, while another drone was intercepted by Russian air defense in the Grayvoronsky district.

Governor Gladkov said on Telegram on Saturday that Kiev’s forces bombarded a settlement of Urazovo around 15km from the Ukrainian border. He claimed that one shell hit a private residential house, killing a man who received “fatal fragment wounds.”

Gladkov said that the attack injured another man, who was hit by a shell fragment in the chest, and a woman who was hit in the face, shoulder, neck, and back. Both are in serious condition and have been taken to hospital, he added.

He added that the rockets had damaged around 20 houses and that the local emergency services were on the scene.

In the capital of Russia’s Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), local authorities said a child was killed and more than ten people wounded on Friday as Ukrainian forces used multiple rocket launch systems to bombard the center of Donetsk.

A total of 15 projectiles were fired at the area of the Donetsk City mall during rush hour, the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC) said on Telegram on Friday.

The mall itself was hit and suffered damage, according to images shared by the city’s mayor Aleksey Kulemzin. 

Initial reports claimed that more than ten people were injured and that a child had been rushed to hospital in critical condition.  

In a later post, however, the JCCC said that “regrettably, a gravely wounded six-year-old girl couldn’t be saved.” 

The strike took place on Knowledge Day, the day when children across Russia return to school after their summer holidays. Knowledge Day is marked in Russia each year on September 1.

Meanwhile, the Donetsk authorities reported another attack on the city with the use of cluster munitions and at least three MRLS incendiary missiles on Friday.  

In the Russian city of Kurchatov, an industrial hub near the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant, the governor of the Kursk Region said on Friday morning that an attack resulted in minor damage to a non-residential building.

Roman Starovoyt wrote on Telegram that no one was hurt in the incident.

Initial reports claimed that there were two drones which hit an administrative and residential building. However, the governor said that reports of a second UAV crash have not been confirmed. A single UAV was mistakenly counted twice as it flew above the city, he explained.

The Kursk Nuclear Power Plant administration said on Telegram that the drone attack in Kurchatov did not affect operations. The facility is working as usual, with background radiation around the plant remaining within natural levels, it said.

In Moscow, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said that yet another drone was shot down near the town of Lyubertsy on the outskirts of the Russian capital early on Friday. There were no injuries or destruction, he added.

“I am grateful to the military that they didn’t allow Knowledge Day to be spoiled,” Sobyanin said.

The incursion by the UAV led to around 40 flights being delayed at Moscow’s Vnukovo and Domodedovo airports, according to media reports.

Drone strikes and shelling on the Russian border regions are a regular occurrence. However, Ukrainian authorities, typically avoid commenting on Kiev attacks on Russian soil.

The Ukrainian military claimed in the past 24 hours Russia had launched four missile strikes and 39 airstrikes, in addition to 42 attacks from multiple rocket launchers.

One person was killed and two were wounded during shelling of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region on Saturday, according to Governor Oleh Prokudin.

Farther north, Kryvyi Rih Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said the anti-aircraft defense in the central Ukrainian city, which is President Volodymyr Zelensky's hometown, had successfully thwarted a strike, without specifying the nature of the attack.

Since Russia launched its special military operation in Donbas in February 2022, Kiev has received tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons and munitions from its Western backers.

Moscow has frequently warned that the continued supply of weapons and munitions to the Ukrainian military would only prolong the war while adding to the death and destruction. However, it will not help Kiev gain victory or stop Moscow from achieving its set objective.

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