Governor of Crimean City Suggests Downed Drone Was Ukrainian

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The Russian-backed governor of the Crimean city of Sevastopol posted on the Telegram message service that air defenses shot down a drone on Saturday, Orthodox Christmas. In a Reuters report about the incident, Mikhail Razvozhaev suggested that the drone was deployed by Ukraine.

“Even the sacred holiday of Christmas was not a reason for these inhuman people to halt their attempts to attack our Hero City,” Razvozhaev wrote.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Ukraine has said it intends to retrieve all the regions Russia annexed before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and all the territory it has seized since then.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based in Sevastopol.

Russian President Vladimir Putin observed Orthodox Christmas in a service in a Kremlin cathedral. The president was the sole worshipper at the midnight service in the gilded Cathedral of the Annunciation.

The Russian Orthodox Church supports Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Putin had declared a unilateral 36-hour cease-fire from midday Friday to observe Russian Orthodox Christmas, but fighting does not appear to have stopped.

Saturday, Britan’s Defense Ministry said in an intelligence update about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that “Fighting has continued at a routine level into the Orthodox Christmas period. One of the most fiercely contested sectors continues to be around the town of Kremina, in Luhansk Oblast.

“In the last three weeks, the fighting around Kremina has focused on the heavily forested terrain to the west of the town,” the British ministry said. “With the coniferous woodland providing some cover from air observation even in winter, both sides are highly likely struggling to accurately adjust artillery fire. As is typical with operations in forests, combat has largely devolved to dismounted infantry fighting, often at short range.

“Russian commanders will highly likely view pressure around Kremina as a threat to the right flank of their Bakhmut sector,” according to the ministry, “which they see as key for enabling any future advance to occupy the remainder of Donetsk Oblast.”

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