Ukraine has intensified its drone attacks on Russian targets in Crimea and Moscow, as the war between the two countries enters its fifth month. On Sunday, Ukraine claimed to have shot down 13 Russian drones that were flying over various parts of Crimea, outer Moscow and two border regions. The drones were reportedly intercepted by Ukrainian air defence systems and electronic warfare units.
The Ukrainian Defence Ministry said the drone attacks were part of a “special operation” to disrupt Russia’s military infrastructure and logistics in the occupied peninsula and the mainland. The ministry also said it had hit a military vehicle repair plant in Kharkiv, a city in eastern Ukraine, with a missile strike. The plant was allegedly used by Russia to restore and maintain its armored vehicles.
A response to Russia’s aggression
The drone attacks were seen as a response to Russia’s ongoing offensive against Ukraine, which began in May 2023. Russia has been accused of violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by annexing Crimea in 2014 and supporting separatist rebels in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia has also launched several missile and air strikes on Ukrainian cities and military bases, causing hundreds of casualties and widespread damage.
Ukraine has vowed to defend its territory and restore its control over Crimea, which it considers an integral part of its state. Ukraine has also received support from its Western allies, who have condemned Russia’s actions and imposed sanctions on Moscow. The US, the UK, France and Germany have also provided Ukraine with military assistance, including weapons, training and intelligence.
A challenge to Russia’s defences
The drone attacks have posed a challenge to Russia’s defences, which have been unable to prevent or counter them effectively. Russia has claimed to have repelled most of the attacks, but has also admitted to suffering some losses and damages. For instance, on Wednesday, Ukraine said it had seriously damaged two Russian warships and a submarine in Sevastopol, the home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Ukraine also said it had destroyed one of Russia’s most advanced air defence systems, an S-400, near Yevpatoria in Crimea.
Russia has accused Ukraine of escalating the conflict and endangering the lives of civilians. Russia has also warned that it will not tolerate any attacks on its capital or its core interests. Russia has deployed thousands of troops and heavy weapons along the border with Ukraine, as well as in Crimea and Belarus. Russia has also threatened to use nuclear weapons if necessary.
A hope for peace
The drone attacks have also raised the alarm among the international community, which fears that the war could spiral out of control and trigger a wider regional or global conflict. The UN Security Council has held several emergency meetings to discuss the situation, but has failed to reach a consensus or a resolution. The US and its allies have called for an immediate ceasefire and a diplomatic solution, while Russia has demanded that Ukraine stop its aggression and respect its sovereignty.
The leaders of France and Germany have also tried to mediate between the two sides, but have faced resistance from both parties. The Normandy format, a peace process that involves France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia, has been stalled since 2019. The Minsk agreements, a set of measures to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, have been largely ignored by both sides.
The drone attacks have shown that Ukraine is not willing to give up on its fight for freedom and sovereignty, but also that Russia is not ready to back down from its ambitions and interests. The war has become a stalemate that neither side can win or afford to lose. The only hope for peace is a political dialogue that can address the root causes of the conflict and find a compromise that can satisfy both parties.