Ukraine used drones and missiles to take down an advanced Russian air-defence system worth US$1.2 billion early on Thursday, according to multiple reports.
The advanced S-400 “Triumf” air-defence system was destroyed in a joint operation by Kyiv’s security service (SBU) and navy, the BBC and Reuters reported, citing Ukrainian intelligence sources.
The attack off the coast of Yevpatoriya was orchestrated through the use of aerial drones and Neptune domestic missiles, per Anton Gerashchenko, a Ukrainian official writing on Telegram.
Yevpatoriya is a coastal city in the west of occupied Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014.
The prominent Russian blogger outlet Rybar reported a possible account of how the attack came off. It wrote that before its attack, Ukraine sent out drones to strike a Russian ship in the Black Sea.
The air-defence system fired its rounds to shoot the drones down, thus revealing its location, Rybar reported. Ukraine waited until it had fired all its ammo, then targeted it with cruise missiles.
Rybar is a prominent pro-Kremlin Russian blogger with more than a million followers, which is rumoured to be connected to the Kremlin and the Wagner Group.
Insider was unable to independently verify the Rybar report, which also described the missile system as an S-300 rather than an S-400.
A video circulating on social media shows a large flash as something in the distance appears to explode and catch fire. Plumes of smoke then appear to rise into the night sky.
Insider is unable to independently verify the video.
Russia has not yet commented on the supposed damage, though it did say that its air defences shot down 11 Ukrainian drones overnight over the peninsula, Reuters reported.
Its Ministry of Defence did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Russia’s S-400 mobile long-range surface-to-air system is designed to shoot down aircraft and missiles at long ranges and high altitudes.
It is considered Moscow’s equivalent to the US’s Patriot missile and costs around US$1.2 billion, an unnamed intelligence source told the BBC.
As Insider’s Jake Epstein previously reported, Russia has managed to keep its valuable S-400s out of harm’s way for the most part, despite losing an overwhelming amount of military equipment throughout the conflict.
This would not be the first time Russia accidentally revealed its location by attempting to shoot down Ukrainian targets.
Last week, Ukraine said it was able to attack Russian soldiers after they attempted to shoot down a Ukrainian flag that was attached to helium balloons and flew into occupied territory.
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