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.
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 defence or landed by electronic warfare, please contact special services or hotlines.”