Russia says it thwarted assaults on Crimea bridge. Shelling and strikes depart no less than 2 lifeless

KYIV, Ukraine — Russia mentioned Saturday its forces destroyed three Ukrainian naval drones being utilized in an try to assault a key bridge linking Russia to Moscow-annexed Crimea, forcing its momentary closure for a 3rd time in lower than a yr.

One naval drone was destroyed late Friday and two others early Saturday morning, based on Russia’s Protection Ministry. There was no fast remark from Ukrainian officers.

A key provide route for Kremlin forces within the warfare with Ukraine, the Kerch bridge has come beneath repeated assault since Russia launched its full-scale invasion.

An explosion in October, which Russian authorities mentioned was brought on by a truck bomb, left three individuals lifeless. An additional assault on the bridge in July, killing a pair and significantly wounding their daughter, left a span of the roadway hanging perilously.

The bridge connecting Crimea and Russia carries heavy significance for Moscow, each logistically and psychologically, as a key artery for navy and civilian provides and as an assertion of Kremlin management of the peninsula it annexed in 2014.

On Saturday afternoon, one civilian was killed and two wounded throughout shelling of Russia’s Belgorod area bordering Ukraine, Belgorod Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov mentioned. Two Ukrainian drones attacked the area’s Valuysky district, inflicting minor harm to a personal house and automotive, whereas one other drone was intercepted by Russian air protection within the Grayvoronsky district.

A lady was additionally wounded Saturday throughout shelling of a village within the neighboring Kursk area, additionally bordering Ukraine, regional Gov. Roman Starovoit mentioned. He blamed Ukraine for the shelling.

Ukrainian authorities, which typically keep away from commenting on assaults on Russian soil, didn’t say whether or not they launched the assaults. Drone strikes and shelling on the Russian border areas are a daily incidence.

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In the meantime, 4 individuals had been wounded within the Ukrainian shelling of the jap Ukrainian metropolis of Donetsk, Moscow-installed mayor Aleksei Kulemzin mentioned Saturday. Donetsk is the regional capital of the jap Ukrainian province of the identical identify, which was among the many 4 Ukrainian provinces illegally annexed by Russia in September. The town got here beneath the management of Russia-backed separatists in 2014.

The Ukrainian navy mentioned in a daily replace Saturday that over the earlier 24 hours Russia had launched 4 missile strikes and 39 airstrikes, along with 42 assaults from a number of rocket launchers.

One particular person was killed and two had been wounded throughout shelling of Ukraine’s southern Kherson area on Saturday, based on Gov. Oleh Prokudin. Farther north, Kryvyi Rih Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul mentioned the anti-aircraft protection within the central Ukrainian metropolis, which is President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown, had efficiently thwarted a strike, with out specifying the character of the assault.

U.Okay. navy officers mentioned Saturday that Russia dangers splitting its forces in an try to forestall a Ukrainian breakthrough in Ukraine’s south. In line with British intelligence, Ukrainian forces continued to take offensive motion on the Orikhiv axis in southern Ukraine, with models reaching the primary Russian important line of defense.

Ukraine’s Deputy Protection Minister Hanna Maliar mentioned Friday that Kyiv’s troops had been advancing within the Zaporizhzhia area.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will host Turkish chief Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks subsequent week, the Kremlin introduced Friday, simply over six weeks after Moscow broke off a deal brokered by Ankara and the U.N. that allowed Ukrainian grain to succeed in world markets safely regardless of the 18-month warfare.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned Putin and Erdogan would meet Monday in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi.

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