Ukraine says it hit Russian naval targets in largest attack on Crimea so far

KYIV – Ukraine struck Russian naval targets and port infrastructure early on Wednesday in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, in what appeared to be the biggest attack of the war on the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

The attack on Crimea, which was seized and annexed by Russia in 2014, was confirmed by Moscow. It highlighted Kyiv’s growing missile capabilities, as Russia continues to bombard Ukraine from afar with long-range missiles and assault drones.

“We confirm a large landing vessel and submarine were hit. We do not comment on the means (used) for the strike,” Ukrainian military intelligence official Andriy Yusov told Reuters, giving no further details on the scale of the damage.

Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement Ukraine attacked a Black Sea shipyard with 10 cruise missiles and three uncrewed speedboats in the early hours of Wednesday, damaging two vessels that were undergoing repairs.

It said it downed seven of the incoming missiles, and that the attack boats were destroyed by a Russian patrol ship.

“It really is the biggest attack on Sevastopol since the beginning of the war,” retired Ukrainian navy captain Andriy Ryzhenko told Reuters by telephone.

It was not clear what kind of missile was used by Kyiv in the attack on Sevastopol, which lies about 300km from Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odessa.

The West has poured weapons worth billions of dollars into Ukraine to help it fend off Russian forces that have occupied swathes of territory in the south and east since their full-scale invasion in February 2022.

The Ukrainian military, which launched a counteroffensive in early June, took the unusual step of publicly claiming responsibility for the strike, something it does not typically do for attacks on Russia or the Crimean peninsula.

“On the morning of Sept 13, the Ukrainian armed forces conducted successful strikes on naval assets and port infrastructure of the occupiers at the docks of temporarily occupied Sevastopol,” it said on Telegram.

Mr Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Moscow-installed governor of Sevastopol, the largest city in Crimea and a major Black Sea port, said on Telegram that at least 24 people were injured.

He posted a night photo of flames engulfing what appeared to be port infrastructure. Russian Telegram channels posted videos and more photos of flames at a facility by the water.

“All emergency services are working on the site. There is no danger to civilian objects in the city,” he said.

The shipyard on the peninsula builds and repairs ships and submarines of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The fleet has launched numerous missile attacks on Ukraine throughout the war. REUTERS


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