Ukrainian Drone Attack Causes Power Outages in Crimea; Blinken Reaffirms US Support
Ukrainian Drone Attack Causes Power Outages in Crimea; Blinken Reaffirms US Support

In a bold move amid escalating conflict, Ukraine launched a massive drone attack on Crimea early Friday, causing power outages in Sevastopol and igniting a refinery in southern Russia, according to Russian authorities.

The drone strikes, seen as Kyiv's response to Moscow's ongoing offensive in northeastern Ukraine, targeted key strategic locations. The Russian Defense Ministry reported downing 51 Ukrainian drones over Crimea, 44 over the Krasnodar region, and 6 over Belgorod. Russian forces also engaged and destroyed 6 sea drones in the Black Sea.

In Sevastopol, home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet, Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev confirmed damage to the city's power plant, warning residents of possible disruptions lasting up to a day. He assured that efforts were underway to restore power swiftly and announced temporary closure of schools in the city.

Earlier attacks by Ukrainian drones, captured in satellite images, damaged aircraft and a fuel storage facility at Belbek air base near Sevastopol. In the Krasnodar region, an attack caused a fire at an oil refinery in Tuapse, which was quickly contained with no reported casualties.

Ukrainian drones also targeted Novorossiysk, a major Black Sea port, resulting in several fires from downed drone fragments, though no casualties were reported. In Belgorod, a Ukrainian drone struck a vehicle, tragically killing a woman and her 4-year-old child, while another attack set a fuel tank ablaze at a gas station.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces continue to resist Russian advances in the northeastern Kharkiv region, particularly in Vovchansk, where intense fighting has forced the evacuation of 8,000 civilians. Russian forces have also tested Ukrainian defenses along the front line stretching roughly 1,000 kilometers from north to south through eastern Ukraine, targeting towns and villages in the Donetsk, Chernihiv, Sumy, and Zaporizhzhia regions.

The conflict has become a war of attrition, with both sides striving to deplete each other's resources and exploit weaknesses in an enduring struggle for territorial control.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kyiv on Tuesday to show support amid the escalating conflict, where he reassured Ukrainians of continued American military aid. Blinken's visit came as Ukraine faced a new wave of Russian offensives, underscoring the international stakes in the conflict. The US has pledged billions in military support to Ukraine, emphasizing the strategic importance of the region and the global implications of the ongoing conflict.

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