Ukraine Launched Its Largest-Ever Drone Attack On Russia While Putin Was In China

In what appears an intentionally-timed message, Ukraine's military launched its largest-ever drone attack on Russian territory while President Putin was visiting China where he held two days of meetings with Xi Jinping.

"Fifty-one UAVs were destroyed and intercepted over Crimea, 44 over the Krasnodar region, six over the Belgorod region and one over Kursk region," Russia's defense ministry announced of the Friday attack.

This means well over 100 kamikaze drones were sent across several regions, particularly around Belgorod and the Black Sea. Given the Kremlin is claiming its forces intercepted that amount, the total number of UAVs deployed across the border was likely far and above that figure, perhaps even double, as clearly some made it through anti-air defenses.

ukraine launched its largest ever drone attack on russia while putin was in china

"Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said a mother and child were killed while traveling in a car, and authorities managed to extinguish the fire at the Tuapse refinery," as cited in Fox News. "The child was in critical condition. Doctors did everything possible to save him," Gladkov said.

Sevastopol was forced to cancel all schools and classes, and to close public buildings, and there was confirmation of damage there.

Ukraine is apparently seeking to retaliate for Russia's ongoing major Kharkiv offensive, while Putin has linked the new Russian operation to push deeper into the northeast sector of Ukraine with pro-Kiev forces' constant cross-border drone attacks and shelling.

Dozens of Russians have been killed and wounded in Belgorod over the last several months. When asked about the worsening situation, Putin told a press briefing in Harbin, China on Friday that "what is happening on the Kharkiv front is their own fault."

Referencing places like Belgorod city, Putin says "Civilians are dying there" - explaining that "It’s obvious... they are shooting directly at the city center, at residential areas. And I said publicly that if this continues, we will be forced to create a security zone, a buffer zone. That is what we are doing."

Russian media has reported that the aim is to establish this buffer zone at least 10km within Ukrainian territory, making it more difficult for Ukraine forces to shell Russian villages and cities. According to more of Moscow's intentions in the region via Russian state media:

Russia has no intention of capturing the Ukrainian city of Kharkov, which is close to the Russian border, President Vladimir Putin has said. Moscow’s forces have been making notable gains in the area in recent days.

Speaking to reporters at the Harbin Institute of Technology during his two-day visit to China, Putin commented on Russia’s operations in Kharkov Region, asserting that Moscow is achieving success on the battlefield by acting “strictly according to plan.”

Also on Friday Ukraine's President Zelensky warned the public that Russia’s summer assault "could consist of several waves. There was the first wave" in the Kharkiv region, and that the country should brace for more.

Zelensky is meanwhile still claiming his goal is still the "liberation of Crimea"...

There has lately been widespread media acknowledgement that Ukrainian lines are being pushed back rapidly, and Ukraine officials including Zelensky have lashed out at Western allies for a significant delay in weapons and ammo.

Authored by Tyler Durden via ZeroHedge May 18th 2024