In another significant escalation, Russia says it shot down a cruise missile launched by Ukraine over Crimea, according to Crimean Governor Sergei Aksyonov.
"The incident inflicted no damage or casualties, he added, without specifying where the missile had been launched from," according to international reports. The intercept reportedly happened near the city of Kerch on the Crimean peninsula.
Drones inside Russia's territory or over Russian-controlled Crimea have been a regular feature of this war, but cruise missiles or other long-range heavy missiles much less so.
Regional reports say the attack temporarily halted traffic over the immense Crimean Bridge:
Krym Realii media outlet reported that several explosions were heard in occupied Crimea at around 12 p.m. on July 9.
Following Aksyonov's claim, local Telegram channels also reported that the traffic was temporarily stopped at the Crimean Bridge that connects the Russian-occupied peninsula and mainland Russia over the Kerch Strait. There have been no further details.
Elsewhere, the Rostov regional government reported that a Ukrainian missile was intercepted over its territory in the south of Russia. "There were no casualties. The debris partially damaged the roofs of several buildings," Governor Vasily Golubev wrote.
As these kinds of attacks have increased and become more frequent over the last several months, Kremlin accusations of the US directly assisting in cross-border attacks have increased. Russia has warned in response it could begin taking out "decision-making centers" in Ukraine in response, and in some cases it has acted on these warnings.
Various governments and institutions around the world observed the grim milestone of the 500th day of the war on Saturday, with Western governments condemning Moscow and calling on it to halt its operations...
Tomorrow, the world will mark 500 days since Russia started its brutal, full-scale invasion of #Ukraine. Russia’s invasion needs to stop. Not in 500 days, not in 50 days, but today.#StandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/zew7L4m30j— Foreign Policy CAN (@CanadaFP) July 7, 2023
This weekend marked the 500th day since the Russian military invasion on Feb. 24, 2022. Ukraine's much-touted counteroffensive, launched last month, has largely retreated from the headlines, strongly suggesting its failure.