Ukraine Drones Strike Crimea, Moscow, Oil Depot, Russia Says

 Smoke rises in the sky over a residential building destroyed by a Russian military strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine September 13, 2023. (Reuters)
Smoke rises in the sky over a residential building destroyed by a Russian military strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine September 13, 2023. (Reuters)
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Ukraine Drones Strike Crimea, Moscow, Oil Depot, Russia Says

 Smoke rises in the sky over a residential building destroyed by a Russian military strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine September 13, 2023. (Reuters)
Smoke rises in the sky over a residential building destroyed by a Russian military strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine September 13, 2023. (Reuters)

Russia said it 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.

Ukraine in recent days has launched a series of strikes on Russian military targets in occupied Crimea and the Russian Navy Black Sea Fleet's facilities, seeking to undermine Moscow's war efforts in the critical region.

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 capital region early on Sunday.

Reuters could not independently verify Sunday's reports and there were no immediate comment from Kyiv.

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.

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

The report on the Telegram messaging app did not say whether there was any damage or casualties in the peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in a broadly condemned move in 2014, eight years before Moscow's full-fledged invasion.

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 southwestern 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.



Greece Denies New Report of Brutality to Migrants

Migrants arrive with a dinghy accompanied by a Frontex vessel at the village of Skala Sikaminias, on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean Sea from Türkiye, Feb. 28, 2020. (AP)
Migrants arrive with a dinghy accompanied by a Frontex vessel at the village of Skala Sikaminias, on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean Sea from Türkiye, Feb. 28, 2020. (AP)
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Greece Denies New Report of Brutality to Migrants

Migrants arrive with a dinghy accompanied by a Frontex vessel at the village of Skala Sikaminias, on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean Sea from Türkiye, Feb. 28, 2020. (AP)
Migrants arrive with a dinghy accompanied by a Frontex vessel at the village of Skala Sikaminias, on the Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean Sea from Türkiye, Feb. 28, 2020. (AP)

Greece on Monday denied a new report that accused its coast guard of brutally preventing migrants from reaching Greek shores, which also alleged that the practice had resulted in dozens of deaths.

A BBC report said it had been ascertained that 43 migrants drowned — including nine who were thrown into the water — in 15 incidents off Greece's eastern Aegean Sea islands in 2020-2023. It cited interviews with eyewitnesses, following reports from media, charities and the Turkish coast guard.

Greek government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis insisted that there was no evidence to support the allegations.

“Our understanding is that what is reported is not proved,” he told a regular press briefing when asked about the claims. “Every complaint is looked into, and in the end, the relevant findings are made public.”

Greece is a major gateway for migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia seeking a better life in the affluent European Union. Thousands slip into the country every year, mostly in small boats from neighboring Türkiye. Relations with Türkiye are often tense, and the two countries' coast guards have repeatedly traded accusations of mistreating migrants.

Migrant charities and human rights groups have repeatedly accused Greece's coast guard and police of illegally preventing arriving migrants from seeking asylum by surreptitiously returning them to Turkish waters. Greece has angrily denied that, arguing its border forces have saved hundreds of thousands of migrants from sinking boats.

The country's reputation took a further knock in June 2023, when a battered fishing vessel with an estimated 750 people on board sank off southwestern Greece. Only 104 people survived, despite the Greek coast guard having shadowed the vessel for hours, and survivors claimed the trawler sank after a botched attempt by the coast guard to tow it. Greek authorities again denied these allegations.

The new BBC report included a claim by a Cameroonian man that he and two other migrants were picked up by masked men, including policemen, just after landing on the island of Samos.

The man claimed all three were put in a coast guard boat and thrown into the sea, and that the other two men drowned as a result.

The report also quoted a Syrian man who said he was part of a group picked up at sea by the Greek coast guard off Rhodes. He said the survivors were put in life rafts and left adrift in Turkish waters, where several died after one life raft sank before the Turkish coast guard came to pick them up.

Marinakis said “it is wrong to target” the Greek coast guard. “In any case, we monitor every report and investigation, but I repeat: What is mentioned (in the BBC report) is in no case backed up by evidence,” he said.