Moscow [Russia], September 18: Russian and Ukrainian officials both say they have foiled mutual drone attacks over the weekend, as Moscow said its forces downed six Ukrainian drones en route to the Crimea peninsula, while Kiev stopped six drones headed for southern Ukraine.
Russia's air defence stopped six drones off the western, north-western and eastern coasts of Crimea, according to Russia's state news agency TASS. A drone attack on Moscow was also repelled, with Ukrainian drones destroyed in the Istra and Ramenki districts, it said. No casualties or damage from fallen debris had been reported, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote on his Telegram channel.
Russia launched missile and drone attacks on Saturday night and that all six drones that Russia deployed - four over Mykolaiv and two over Odessa - were destroyed before hitting their target, the Ukrainian Southern Command reported on Telegram on Sunday.
Air defence systems were able to intercept five of the missiles, although others made impact. A grain storage facility was damaged in Odessa, the command said. There were no reports of injuries.
Russia has stepped up attacks on port and grain infrastructure since withdrawing in July from a UN-brokered agreement that allowed Ukraine to export grain across the Black Sea despite a wartime blockade.
Ukraine has repeatedly attacked Russian military bases on the Crimean peninsula and has made clear that it sees it as Ukrainian sovereign territory. Taking back Crimea, illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, is a major goal of Ukraine's national defence.
Russia meanwhile appears to have strengthened its defensive positions around the occupied town of Tokmak in southern Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya region in recent days, the British Ministry of Defence says.
Anti-tank systems have been erected and new trenches dug around the strategically important town and logistical hub, which lies some 16 kilometres from the front line, the ministry said in its latest daily intelligence update on the war.
"Tokmak is preparing to become a lynchpin of Russian's second main line of defences," the ministry wrote on social media platform X.
"Improvements to the town's defences likely indicates Russia's growing concern about Ukrainian tactical penetrations of the first main defensive line to the north."
Source: Qatar Tribune