Russia says Ukraine launched missile attack on Crimea

  • By Paul Adams & Megan Fisher
  • BBC News in Kiev, Ukraine and London

image source, Mikhail Rasvozhaev

image caption,

A photo shared by the Russian-installed governor on Telegram showed what appeared to be a ship in flames.

Russia says Ukraine launched 10 missiles and three drones at its Black Sea fleet home in Crimea.

Russia said the attack caused a massive fire at the Sevastopol shipyard, injuring 24 people.

Moscow-based governor Mikhail Rasvozayev said most of the weapons had been intercepted but two ships had been damaged.

Ukraine strongly criticized the use of Western-supplied cruise missiles.

A photo shared by Mr Rasvozhayev on Telegram shows flames aboard a ship in port.

The ships are believed to be in the repair area. Ukrainian military intelligence sources said a large Russian amphibious landing craft and a submarine – both believed to be in dry dock – were damaged. If both are struck, it will be one of Ukraine’s most significant attacks on the Black Sea Fleet so far.

In a post on Telegram, Ukraine’s air force chief Mykola Oleshchuk thanked his pilots for their “excellent combat work” – strongly suggesting the weapons were launched by Ukrainian planes. He has also warned that more will come.

When contacted, the Air Force said Storm Shadow cruise missiles were the only weapons currently in Ukrainian use.

This appears to be the first time such weapons have been used against targets inside Crimea.

image caption,

Smoke hung in the air the morning after the attack on the Sevastopol shipyard

A real concern in Moscow is that some of the missiles went through Russia’s air defenses and caused significant damage.

Seven missiles were downed and three unmanned boats were destroyed, the country’s defense ministry said.

Russia illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and the offensive shows the fight for control of the waters. Ukraine continues to maintain its ultimate goal of recovering the peninsula.

Ukraine has previously targeted Sevastopol and the Black Sea Fleet, but there are questions about what weapons were used in the attack. Western-supplied long-range missiles were suggested, but Ukrainian-made Neptune missiles could also be used.

Meanwhile, Russian drones reportedly damaged Ukraine’s grain port of Ismail on the Danube River.

Ole Kiper, the governor of the Odesa region, said six people were injured in the attack, and the fire and infrastructure were damaged.

“Several groups of drones were launched in Ismail district,” Mr Kipper said in a telegram.

“Unfortunately, there were hits: there was damage to the port and other civilian infrastructure.”

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