April 24, 2024

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Ukraine War: Two Russian landing ships were struck off Crimea, officials said

Ukraine War: Two Russian landing ships were struck off Crimea, officials said
  • Written by James Gregory and Pauline Colla
  • BBC News

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The mayor of Kiev asked residents not to leave the shelter

Ukraine said it struck two landing ships, a communications center and other infrastructure used by the Russian fleet in the Black Sea off the Crimean peninsula it annexed.

An announcement issued by the Ukrainian General Staff stated that the ships Yamal and Azov were destroyed.

The Russian-appointed governor of the port of Sevastopol said 10 Ukrainian missiles had been shot down.

Russia also launched a missile and drone attack on the capital, Kiev, and the Lviv region early Sunday.

Mikhail Razvozaev, the Russian-appointed mayor of Sevastopol, said in a statement that damage was caused to residential buildings and transport infrastructure as a result of the “massive” attack.

He asked residents not to publish information or any pictures.

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps praised the attack on Russian ships, describing it as a “historic moment for Ukraine.”

“In plain English, this means that Putin can no longer safely exercise in the Black Sea, even though the Russian fleet has been operating there since 1783,” Shapps said.

He added that the world “cannot afford” for Ukraine to lose this war, and that the UK's support for Kiev in the face of Russian attacks “will remain steadfast.”

The BBC was unable to verify the Ukrainian claim of damage to Russian landing ships, which are used to land troops and equipment directly to shore without the need for a pier or pier.

On Sunday morning, Kiev residents took refuge in metro stations when the attack began at 05:00 (03:00 GMT).

Officials said their defenses shot down 18 Russian missiles and 25 drones there. There was only minor damage.

About 20 Russian missiles and seven drones targeted “vital infrastructure” in the western Lviv region. No damage was reported.

The armed forces announced that one of the cruise missiles entered the airspace of neighboring Poland, a member of NATO.

The armed forces said in a statement: “The object entered Polish space near the town of Ocerdo and remained there for 39 seconds. During the entire flight, it was detected by military radar systems.”

Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysh said: “If there had been any hypothesis that this object was heading towards any targets located in Poland, it would certainly have been shot down and further appropriate measures would have been taken.”

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Parts of a cruise missile fell on a park in Kiev

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The past few days have seen an increase in air attacks by both sides, even as Russia makes slow progress in controlling some territory in the east of the country.

Ukraine has been striking targets in Crimea more regularly.

In particular, Ukraine has repeatedly struck the Black Sea Fleet, which is seen as the best Russian naval fleet. Satellite images last year showed that several warships stationed in Crimea had left the peninsula, heading to the Russian port of Novorossiysk on the Black Sea.

Last month, the Russian landing ship “Tsar Kunikov” sank off the coast of Crimea, according to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Its sister ship, Novocherkassk, was attacked while in the port of Feodosia in December last year.

In one of the largest strikes on the Black Sea Fleet, Ukraine last September attacked naval targets and port infrastructure, using up to 10 missiles and three drone boats. Caused a major fire at the Sevastopol shipyard.

Ukraine's biggest blow in the naval war to date was the sinking of Russia's flagship Black Sea missile cruiser, Moskva, in April 2022.

Ukraine has also targeted the Kerch Bridge several times, because it is an important resupply route for Russian forces occupying parts of the south of the country.

Kiev has repeatedly said it plans to regain Crimea and all territories seized by Russia.

Ukraine relies heavily on arms supplies from the United States and other Western allies to continue fighting Russia – a much larger military power with an abundance of weapons and artillery.

As well as being a platform from which to attack Ukraine, the Black Sea Fleet is a key symbol of Russia's centuries-old military presence in the region.

It was based in Crimea under a leasing deal, even before Russia illegally annexed the peninsula.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia must take control of Crimea to prevent it falling into the hands of the West.

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