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Russia says 19 Ukrainian drones destroyed over Crimea, Black Sea

Moscow, Russia­—Russia said Thursday it had destroyed 19 Ukrainian drones overnight above the Moscow-annexed Crimean peninsula and the surrounding Black Sea.

Moscow’s defence ministry said on the messaging platform Telegram that a Ukrainian attempted attack with aircraft-type unmanned aerial vehicles had been “thwarted”.

It said three other UAV drones had also been downed elsewhere in separate attacks.

“Air defence systems destroyed 19 Ukrainian UAVs over the Black Sea and the territory of the Republic of Crimea, and one each over the territories of Kursk, Belgorod and Oryol regions,” the ministry said.

The Belgorod and Kursk regions border eastern Ukraine, while Oryol is closer to the capital.

Crimea has been targeted by Ukraine throughout Russia’s offensive but attacks there have recently intensified as Kyiv vows to recapture the Black Sea peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014.

On August 25, Russia said it had downed 42 drones over Crimea.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, following a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky in New York, Berlin will host an international conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine next year,

The June 11, 2024 talks will take place in Berlin, added the chancellery in a statement.

London hosted the last such conference, which brought together leaders and representatives of more than 60 countries and financial institutions in June to release funds for the country to rebuild after the Russian invasion.

The aim of the conference is to help Ukraine keep its economy afloat and, in the longer term, to rebuild its infrastructure.

Scholz met the Ukrainian president for 30 minutes on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).

The political, military and humanitarian situation in Ukraine was at the centre of the discussions, the chancellery said.

WARTIME WRECKAGE. This handout image taken and released by the Bulgarian Defense Ministry on Monday shows the wreckage of a drone with mounted explosive, washed up on the Black Sea coast near the Bulgarian town of Tyulenovo. A Bulgarian navy team has defused an explosive drone — the first ever found on its territory — after it appeared in a Black Sea town, the defense ministry said. AFP

Scholz reaffirmed that Germany would continue its support for Kyiv.

In a post on messaging platform Telegram, Zelensky said he and Scholz “discussed the situation on the front line and the priority needs of the defence forces of Ukraine”.

“Special attention was paid to the preparation for the international conference on the restoration of Ukraine, which will be held in Germany,” he added.

And since Ukraine launched its counter-offensive in early June, Russia has weathered waves of drone attacks that have sporadically damaged buildings, including in Moscow.

Russian officials have downplayed their significance.

Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russian-backed governor of Sevastopol, denied that several drones were destroyed in the area of Crimea’s largest city, home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

“Yes, air defence works, but in the Crimean zone,” he said on Telegram, referring to the rest of the peninsula which is administered separately from the city.

“In Sevastopol, all services are on alert, and the air situation is being monitored.”

Oleg Kryuchkov, adviser to the Moscow-appointed governor of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov, said on Telegram: “We are asking all Crimeans to remain calm.

“If you hear the sounds of a drone flying by or air defence systems, move away from the windows. Official information will come later.

“If you find the wreckage of a UAV shot down by air defense or landed by electronic warfare, please contact special services or hot lines.” AFP

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