Russia Says it Downed 10 U.S.-Supplied Missiles Over Crimea as Blinken Visits Kyiv

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) —
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) greets U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R), prior to their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool Photo via AP)

Russia’s Defense Ministry said that air defenses shot down 10 U.S.-supplied Ukrainian missiles targeting the Crimean Peninsula early Wednesday, as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spent a second day visiting Kyiv, and Ukraine’s army battled to contain a front-line push by the Kremlin’s forces.

The ATACMS long-range ballistic missiles were destroyed over the Black Sea, the ministry said. The U.S. included the Army Tactical Missile System, known as ATACMS, in a military aid package in March.

The Ukrainian attack came as Russian troops pressed their offensive in northeast Ukraine’s Kharkiv region that began last week, marking the most significant border incursion since the full-scale invasion began and forcing almost 8,000 local people to flee their homes. Together with Moscow’s weekslong effort to build on its recent gains in the eastern Donetsk region, the more than two-year war has entered a critical stage for Ukraine’s depleted army.

Against that grim backdrop, with thousands of Ukrainian troops locked in fierce battles in towns and villages, Blinken on Tuesday pledged unceasing U.S. support for the country, during and beyond the war. He also tried to lift spirits in Kyiv, performing on guitar with a band and eating pizza at a veteran-run restaurant.

Blinken on Wednesday visited a drone manufacturer on the outskirts of Kyiv and toured a grain trans-shipment facility where Ukrainian grain is loaded into containers for export by rail.

Blinken praised the ingenuity of the process, which local companies adopted after traditional shipping routes were interrupted by Russia’s full-scale invasion, which began on Feb. 24, 2022.

“Ukraine has had to adapt and adjust to this and it’s done so remarkably,” Blinken said.

Meanwhile, Russian air defenses shot down several Ukrainian missiles over the Black Sea and near the Belbek air base, Sevastopol Gov. Mikhail Razvozhayev said. Sevastopol is where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is headquartered.

The fragments of downed missiles fell into residential areas but caused no casualties, Razvozhayev said.

Russian air defenses also shot down nine Ukrainian drones, two Vilha rockets, two anti-radar HARM missiles, and two Hammer guided bombs over the Belgorod region early Wednesday, the Defense Ministry said.

Two people were injured in the village of Dubovoye when a Ukranian rocket set their house ablaze, according to Belgorod Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov.

The military said five other Ukrainian drones were downed over the Kursk region and three drones were shot down over the Bryansk region.

The Defense Ministry also said that another Ukrainian drone was downed over the Tatarstan region. Tatarstan is located more than 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) east of the border with Ukraine.

Vasily Golubev, the governor of the Rostov region, said two drones attacked a fuel depot. He said there were no casualties or fire.

Ukraine has launched a steady series of drone attacks on oil refineries and fuel depots across Russia over the past months, causing significant damage.

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