Ukraine claims strikes on Russian air defences in Crimea ahead of Swiss peace summit

Moscow politicians mock European election failures of French and German leaders

Kyiv’s military said it struck Russian air defence systems in occupied Crimea as preparations for a “peace summit” in Switzerland gathered pace and Moscow mocked the European election performance of French and German ruling parties that back Ukraine.

“The defence forces of Ukraine successfully struck one S-400 anti-aircraft missile division of the occupiers in the Dzhankoi area, as well as two enemy S-300 anti-aircraft missile divisions near Chornomorske and Yevpatoria,” Kyiv’s military general staff said on Monday.

“None of our missiles were intercepted by the enemy’s ‘highly effective’ air defences,” the general staff added, claiming Kyiv had detected that the three systems’ radar equipment had immediately stopped working and ammunition had detonated.

Moscow did not confirm the strikes but big explosions were heard in the early hours of Monday in two of the areas named by Ukraine.


Russia illegally annexed the Black Sea peninsula in 2014, but Ukraine has used domestically produced air and marine drones and western-supplied missiles to hit military infrastructure in Crimea and sink or damage several warships of the Kremlin’s Black Sea Fleet, forcing most of its remaining vessels to move further east.

Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence agency said on Sunday that it had struck a latest-generation Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jet at an airbase almost 600km from the Ukrainian border, and published satellite images showing a charred aircraft on the tarmac. A prominent Russian military blogger said the Su-57 had been hit by a drone.

However, Russia says it still has the upper hand on the battlefield in several areas of eastern Ukraine, and claimed on Monday to have taken control of the village of Staromaiorske in Donetsk region, which Ukraine liberated last summer in a counteroffensive that ultimately failed.

Switzerland said it was gearing up for a peace summit on Ukraine next weekend at a resort near Lake Lucerne, at which Kyiv hopes to secure widespread international support for a peace plan that will then be presented at a follow-up meeting to Russia – which is not invited to the June 15th-16th gathering.

Swiss president Viola Amherd said on Monday that some 90 countries and major organisations had accepted invitations to the summit, and that Switzerland had registered a rise in cyberattacks and anti-Swiss Russian propaganda in advance of the event. Up to 4,000 Swiss soldiers will help police provide security for the meeting.

French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz are among European leaders expected to attend, and their parties’ poor showing in the European elections was gleefully welcomed by several Russian politicians who have been particularly annoyed by Mr Macron’s increasingly tough pro-Ukrainian rhetoric.

“The results in France and Germany were predictable. The economy is stagnating, there is a migration crisis and, contrary to their national interests, the countries are being drawn into the war in Ukraine,” said Russian parliamentary speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev also took to social media to mock Mr Macron and Mr Scholz: “Time to retire,” he wrote. “To the ash heap of history!”

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin is a contributor to The Irish Times from central and eastern Europe