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Ukraine Launches Drone Attack on Crimea05/17 06:04

   A massive Ukrainian drone attack on Crimea early Friday caused power cutoffs 
in the city of Sevastopol while damaging aircraft and fuel storage at an 
airbase, and set a refinery ablaze in the country's south, Russian authorities 
said.

   KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- A massive Ukrainian drone attack on Crimea early 
Friday caused power cutoffs in the city of Sevastopol while damaging aircraft 
and fuel storage at an airbase, and set a refinery ablaze in the country's 
south, Russian authorities said.

   The drone raids marked Kyiv's attempt to strike back during Moscow's 
offensive in northeastern Ukraine, which has added to the pressure on 
outnumbered and outgunned Ukrainian forces who are waiting for delayed 
deliveries of crucial weapons and ammunition from Western partners.

   A Ukrainian intelligence official confirmed Ukraine's Security Service and 
Military Intelligence conducted a joint operation to strike Russia's military 
infrastructure objects in Novorossiysk and the occupied Sevastopol. The 
official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to 
comment publicly.

   The operation was aimed to strike Russian Black Sea Fleet's ships and 
vessels and was conducted by aerial drones built in Ukraine, the official said.

   At least three fighter jets were destroyed in the attack, according to 
satellite imagery of the airbase provided by Maxar Technologies.

   The Russian Defense Ministry said air defenses downed 51 Ukrainian drones 
over Crimea, another 44 over the Krasnodar region and six over the Belgorod 
region. It said Russian warplanes and patrol boats also destroyed six sea 
drones in the Black Sea.

   Mikhail Razvozhayev, the governor of Sevastopol, which is the main base for 
Russia's Black Sea Fleet, said the drone attack damaged the city's power plant. 
He said it could take a day to fully restore energy supplies and warned 
residents that power would be cut to parts of the city.

   "Communal services are doing their best to restore the power system as 
quickly as possible," he said in a statement.

   Razvozhayev also announced that schools in the city would be closed 
temporarily.

   Earlier Ukrainian attacks damaged aircraft and a fuel storage facility at 
Belbek air base near Sevastopol, according to satellite images released by 
Maxar Technologies.

   In the Krasnodar region, the authorities said a drone attack early Friday 
caused a fire at an oil refinery in Tuapse which was later contained. There 
were no casualties.

   Ukraine has repeatedly targeted refineries and other energy facilities deep 
inside Russia, causing significant damage.

   Ukrainian drones also attacked Novorossiysk, a major Black Sea port. The 
Krasnodar region's governor, Veniamin Kondratyev, said fragments of downed 
drones caused several fires but there were no casualties.

   Belgorov Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov said a Ukrainian drone struck a vehicle, 
killing a woman and her 4-year-old child. Another attack set a fuel tank ablaze 
at a gas station in the region, he said.

   Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops were fighting to halt Russian advances in the 
northeastern Kharkiv region that began late last week.

   The town of Vovchansk, located just 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the Russian 
border, has been a hot spot in the fighting in recent days. Ukrainian 
authorities have evacuated some 8,000 civilians from the town. The Russian 
army's usual tactic is to reduce towns and villages to ruins with aerial 
strikes before its units move in.

   By starting a new offensive in the north of Kharkiv region on May 10, 
Russian troops have "expanded the zone of active hostilities by almost 70 
kilometers," in an effort to force Ukraine spread its forces and use the 
reserve troops, Ukraine's military chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said on Friday.

   According to Syrskyi, having strengthened their grouping in the northern 
region, the Russian army is now concentrating its efforts to advance near the 
village of Lyptsi and the town of Vovchansk.

   Syrskyi also said he inspected the units that are "preparing for defense" of 
Ukraine's northern Sumy region. Earlier this week, on Tuesday, head of 
Ukraine's Military Intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, reportedly said that the 
Russian army had plans to start offensive actions in Sumy region.

   Russia has also been testing defenses at other points along the roughly 
1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front line snaking from north to south through 
eastern Ukraine. That line has barely changed over the past 18 months in what 
became a war of attrition. Recent Russian attacks have come in the eastern 
Donetsk region, as well as the Chernihiv and Sumy regions in the north and in 
the southern Zaporizhzhia region. The apparent aim is to stretch depleted 
Ukrainian resources and exploit weaknesses.

 
 
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