Drone attacks Moscow’s main financial district, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet ships targeted by UAV strike, US approves F-16 transfers from Denmark, the Netherlands

Novaya-Europe’s round-up

Attack on Moscow’s exhibition centre. Photo: social media

Attack on Moscow’s exhibition centre. Photo: social media

The Ukraine war has now been raging for 541 days. A drone attack has damaged the facade of Moscow’s Expocentre, an exhibition and conference centre located in the city’s main business district. Drone attacks were also attempted on Black Sea Fleet ships and the Belgorod region.

The US has approved exports of F-16 jets to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands, Reuters reports, citing a Washington source. The jets will be delivered once Ukrainian pilots have received the necessary training.

Turkey has issued a warning to Russia following the Sukru Okan cargo ship inspection.

Read the top overnight headlines in Novaya-Europe’s round-up.

Drone attacks Moscow’s central financial district

Air-defence systems downed the drone “while it was attempting to fly to Moscow”, said Mayor Sergey Sobyanin. He added that the drone debris had landed near the Expocentre, located in Moscow City, the Russian capital’s main business district.

The mayor stressed that the building did not sustain any “significant damage” and noted that preliminarily “no one was injured”. RIA Novosti reports that 20 square metres of a one-storey pavilion’s facade was damaged. Mash writes that the drone fell on the eighth pavilion of the Expocentre, causing the building’s 30 square metres of roof to collapse.

The Russian Defence Ministry reported that the incident took place at around 4 AM Moscow time, accusing Ukraine of launching a “terrorist attack”.

The drone strike caused the authorities to shut down the airspace near Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport, some flights were delayed, some were redirected to other airports. However, the Russian aviation authorities noted that all flights were carried out normally since 4:30 AM Moscow time.

Russia accuses Ukraine of attempting Belgorod region, Black Sea Fleet strikes

A UAV has been downed over the village of Nikolskoye, Russia’s Belgorod region located on the Ukraine border, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov reported.

The Russian Defence Ministry said that no one was injured, no damages were recorded. The agency described the incident as a “terrorist attack” and said Kyiv was behind it.

Moreover, the ministry also reported about Ukraine’s “unsuccessful” attempt to attack Russia’s Black Sea Fleet ships, which carried out tasks of sea navigation control in the south-western part of the Black Sea, 237 kilometres south-west of Sevastopol.

The Russian ministry stressed that the “enemy’s uncrewed boat” was destroyed by the ships, which “continue to carry out their set tasks”.

US OK’s F-16 transfers to Kyiv from Denmark, the Netherlands

The US has approved the exports of F-16 jets to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands, Reuters reported, citing a Washington source.

According to the news agency, the White House will accelerate the confirmation of requests from the third countries to send the jets to Kyiv after Ukrainian pilots receive the necessary training.

Reuters obtained a letter from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed to representatives of Denmark and the Netherlands, which says that the US expresses full support for jet transfers and pilot training programmes. Blinken believes it vital that “Ukraine is able to defend itself against ongoing Russian aggression and violation of its sovereignty”.

The move to approve the requests from Amsterdam and Copenhagen will allow Ukraine to take “full advantage of its new capabilities as soon as the first set of pilots complete their training”, Blinken added.

The Washington Post reported earlier that Ukrainian pilots would only start training in January 2024 because they first require four-month long English language courses, while the jet training would take six months.

Earlier, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Forces Yuri Ignat said that Kyiv would not get F-16s before spring 2024 but lauded the fact that the pilot and personnel training issue had moved forward.

Turkey issues warning to Russia over Sukru Okan cargo ship inspection in Black Sea

Ankara has called on Moscow to refrain from any actions that can lead to escalation in the Black Sea following the Turkish Sukru Okan cargo ship incident.

On 13 August, the Russian Defence Ministry said that a Russian patrol vessel fired warning shots to force Palau-flagged Sukru Okan, which was heading to the Ukrainian port of Izmail, to agree to an inspection. Once the ship was searched, it continued heading towards Ukraine.

Senior Ukrainian official Mykhailo Podolyak slammed the incident as “an act of piracy” by Russia.

Ankara rebutted the claim that Turkey had not reacted to Moscow’s actions.

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