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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Matt Watts

Russian cruise missiles shipment destroyed in Crimea blast, says Ukraine

Cruise missiles intended for use by Russia’s Black Sea fleet have been destroyed in an “explosion” as they were transported by train in the occupied Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine’s defence ministry said.

The Russian-installed head of the city of Dzhankoi in the region, which was annexed by Moscow from Ukraine in 2014, said the area had been attacked by drones.

A statement by Ukraine’s military intelligence agency said: “An explosion in Dzhankoi city in the north of temporarily occupied Crimea destroyed Russian Kalibr-KN cruise missiles as they were being transported by rail".

It did not explicitly say Ukraine was responsible or what weapon had been used.

But the agency implied the Kyiv government was responsible by saying the explosion destroying the missiles continues “the process of Russia's demilitarisation and prepares the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea for de-occupation". If confirmed, it would be a rare foray by Ukraine’s military into Crimea.

Kyiv said the missiles were being carried by rail and were destined for submarine launch.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky has vowed to re-capture all the Ukrainian land Russia now occupies, including Crimea.

Ihor Ivin, the Russian-installed head of the Dzhankoi administration, was quoted as saying the city had come under attack from drones and a 33-year-old man suffered a shrapnel injury from a downed drone. He was taken to hospital and expected to survive.

A possible indication of a Ukrainian attack came from the Russian-appointed governor of Crimea, Sergei Aksenov. He said on social media that anti-aircraft weapons were fired in the vicinity of Dzhankoi, where Ukraine's intelligence agency said the cruise missiles were destroyed.

Mr Aksenov said falling debris injured one person and damaged a home and a store.

His report did not mention that cruise missiles were hit, specify why the anti-aircraft weapons were fired or whether the injury and damage were caused by debris from the anti-aircraft weapons or from an object that was shot down.

It has not yet been possible to independently verify the Ukrainian or the Russian reports.

Unconfirmed social media reports claimed Russia's anti-aircraft defences shot down drones.

Throughout the current war, reports have surfaced of attacks on Russian military bases, assassinations and other targets in Crimea, with Ukraine rarely, if ever, explicitly claiming responsibility but welcoming such incidents.

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