Russia claims to have knocked back the Ukrainian counteroffensive by destroying four boats carrying troops in the Black Sea.
Posting on Telegram, the Russian Defense Ministry said its fighter jets had destroyed “fast-moving” boats as they were heading towards Cape Tarkhankut on the Crimean coast.
It comes just a week after the Kremlim claimed it destroyed boats carrying Ukranian landing crews on the Black Sea. It said a total of 50 troops were killed at the time.
Ukraine is said to have been targeting the Crimean Penninsula, in particular the Kerch Bridge, because it is the only direct transport link between Russia and the annexed region.
Over the weekend Russia claimed to have also destroyed three drones that were due to attack the bridge. It meant the transport link had to be temporarily closed for the third time this year.
Writing about the most recent incident on Telegram, the Russian Defense Ministry said: “During the night of September 4, 2023, in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, naval aviation aircraft of the Black Sea Fleet destroyed four ‘Willard Sea Force’ US-made high-speed military boats with landing groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, traveling in the direction of Cape Tarkhankut on the Crimean coast.”
The Institute for the Study of War says the railway links that use the Crimean Bridge connect to Russia as well as road links connecting to other parts of occupied Ukraine. Rail links further north of the region, including those in Tokmak, are said to be more susceptible to the Ukraine counteroffensive, reports the BBC.
Ukraine, which has been criticised for the speed of its counter attack, has recently celebrated breaking through Russia’s first line of defences in the south. The blue and yellow flag was raised over the strategic village of Robotyne last week.
And, despite suffering some knock-backs from Russia, Volodymyr Zelensky last week said the counteroffensive was working. On Telegram he wrote: “Ukrainian forces are moving forward. Despite everything, and no matter what anyone says, we are advancing, and that is the most important thing. We are on the move.”