MOSCOW: Russia said it had thwarted a coordinated Ukrainian attack on Crimea early on Sunday, while drones also targeted Moscow, disrupting air traffic in the capital, and caused a fire at an oil depot in the southwest of the country.

Attacks deep inside Russia, far from the front lines, have also increased, with Moscow’s mayor saying at least two drones were shot down in the region of the capital early on Sunday.

In an opinion piece late on Saturday, Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s Security Coun­cil, urged Kyiv’s allies to speed up the delivery of weapons, saying this was the only way to end the war.

“For example, the complete or partial elimination of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which is a doable task, should significantly accelerate the process of Russia’s search for a way out of the ongoing war,” Danilov wrote on the Ukrainska Pravda news site.

Over 30 flights were delayed and six cancelled at major airports

Russian air defence systems destroyed at least six drones targeting Crimea from different directions, Russia’s defence ministry said on Sunday.

Flights disrupted

In the Moscow region, a drone was destroyed over the Istra district and another over the Ramensky district, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Telegram, adding there were no casualties or damage from drone debris.

At least 30 flights were delayed and six cancelled at Moscow’s major airports, Russian state news agencies said — a frequent move by aviation authorities during drone strikes.

In south-western Russia, a Ukrainian drone damaged an oil depot early on Sunday, sparking a fire at a fuel tank that was later extinguished, the regional governor said.

“There are no casualties, all emergency services are working on the territory of the facility,” the governor of the Oryol region, Andrei Klychkov, said on Telegram.

He did not specify whether the depot was hit by debris or targeted by the drone.

Another drone was downed in Russia’s Voronezh region, local governor Aleksandr Gusev and the ministry of defence said. According to Gusev, there were no casualties or damage.

‘Long war’

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg has warned there will be no swift end to the Ukraine war, in an interview published on Sunday.

“Most wars last longer than expected when they first begin,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with Germany’s Funke media group.

“Therefore we must prepare ourselves for a long war in Ukraine.” “We are all wishing for a quick peace,” said Stoltenberg.

Genocide case

Russia and Ukraine will square off before the International Court of Justice on Monday in a case that centres around claims by Moscow that its invasion of Ukraine was done to prevent genocide.

Ukraine brought the case to the United Nations’ highest court just days after the Russian invasion last year. Kyiv argues Russia is abusing international law by saying the invasion was justified to prevent an alleged genocide in eastern Ukraine.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2023

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