Russia says it downs drones, destroys Ukraine speedboats near Crimea

(Reuters) -Russian forces downed eight Ukraine-launched drones over the Black Sea near Crimea and destroyed three speedboats in the sea's waters early on Sunday, the defence ministry said.

The U.S.-made military speedboats carrying Ukrainian military personnel were destroyed northeast of Snake Island, the ministry said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

The ministry did not say whether there was any damage or injuries from either incident.

Reuters could not verify the reports, which followed similar reports in recent weeks. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.

Tiny Snake Island, a symbol of Ukraine's defiance of its larger neighbour's invasion, is an outpost in the northwest of the Black Sea, where tensions have escalated since Russia last month pulled out of a deal that had enabled Ukraine to ship grain from its southern ports despite the war.

In a move broadly condemned by Kyiv's allies, Russia annexed the peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, eight years before its full invasion of Ukraine.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and William Mallard)