Satellite image of Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula
Photo: AFP PHOTO / PLANET LABS PBC
What happened in the past few hours
Russia says it has repelled an air strike on the Crimean peninsula. "Our military is repelling a missile attack. According to initial findings, the air defense shot down a missile near the Belbek airfield," the Moscow-appointed governor of the city of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvoshayev, said on Monday on the online service Telegram.
Razvozhayev had said at around 21 p.m. local time via Telegram that the authorities had declared an air alert for the region. About an hour later, he declared it over.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, more than seven Ukrainian drones were also destroyed by Russian air defenses in the Russian region of Belgorod on the border with Ukraine. The regional governor there, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said that according to initial findings, there had been no damage.
The ministry also said that four Ukrainian drones had been repelled in the Kursk region, which also borders Ukraine. On Sunday, Russian authorities reported a Ukrainian drone attack on an administrative building in the city in the south-east of the country.
Kursk is about 90 kilometers from the border with Ukraine. In August, a Ukrainian drone strike hit the city's train station. Five people were injured and there was considerable property damage.
After the Ukrainian attack on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, there were also explosions again in Crimea on Monday. According to occupation chief Razvozhayev, it was a "controlled demolition" of the severely damaged building in the city of Sevastopol. Further explosions are also planned for the evening, Razvozhayev said on Telegram. The information could not be independently verified.
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After the attack last Friday, the Russian side had initially only spoken of falling rocket debris – but the Ukrainian attack ultimately turned out to be far more successful. Several missiles are said to have hit the headquarters. According to information from Kiev, the head of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Viktor Sokolov, was killed. Moscow did not confirm this at first.
Russia has been waging a war of aggression against neighboring Ukraine for 19 months. Ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet regularly bombard Ukrainian cities with missiles and cruise missiles. In recent weeks, the Ukrainian army has repeatedly succeeded in damaging Russian military objects – including in Crimea.
This is what Kiev says
Following the delivery of the first US Abrams tanks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has expressed confidence in receiving further long-awaited military aid. "We are also working to get all the other military capabilities we need," Zelenskyy said in his evening video address. These included F-16 fighter jets, anti-aircraft systems and long-range weapons. "In order to cover our entire national territory, we need more systems than we currently have," Zelenskyy said.
Ukraine hopes, among other things, for Taurus cruise missiles from Germany. So far, however, there has been no commitment from Berlin. In addition, it is important for his country to increasingly produce weapons and anti-aircraft defense itself, Zelensky said.
Earlier in the day, the head of state announced that the first Abrams tanks had arrived in Ukraine. In total, the United States has announced the transfer of 31 main battle tanks to the country attacked by Russia. The tanks are a "significant reinforcement" for Ukraine, Zelenskyy said.
To modernize the Polish military, the United States has reached an agreement with Warsaw on a billion-dollar loan. The US State Department announced on Monday in Washington that Poland should receive a direct loan of two billion US dollars. Such direct loans are an instrument reserved for some of the most important security partners of the United States. "Poland is a staunch ally of the United States, and Poland's security is critical to the collective defense of NATO's eastern flank," it said.
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The U.S. government is providing up to $60 million for the cost of the loan. This will help accelerate the modernization of Poland's defense by supporting US defense purchases.
Poland is working to upgrade its own military in view of the war in neighbouring Ukraine and the threat posed by Russia. This year, the EU and NATO country wants to spend four percent of its economic output on defense – NATO had set itself a goal of two percent in peacetime. For the modernization of the army and air force, Poland has concluded billion-dollar deals with the United States and South Korea.