Russia reports ‘massive’ overnight Ukrainian air strikes on annexed Crimea

Air defence systems in Russian-occupied Crimea repelled a “massive” Ukrainian aerial attack on the peninsula overnight, the Russian-appointed Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev said in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Razvozhaev said that several missiles had been downed over the Belbek military airfield on the outskirts of Sevastopol, Crimea’s largest city and nominal home to Russia’s beleaguered Black Sea Fleet, which resulted in a fire breaking out in the nearby village of Polyushko and damage to a residential area.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Wednesday morning that air defence systems had intercepted 10 American-made ATACMS missiles over the peninsula overnight.

Local Ukrainian monitoring group Crimean Wind reported three fires at the airfield in the immediate aftermath of the attack, and later published satellite images that showed that the fires had “increased significantly” in number and intensified.

The reports of Wednesday’s attack came weeks after US officials told the New York Times that Ukraine may use longer-range ATACMS missiles provided by Washington to attack the Russian military’s “safe haven” in Crimea, as many of the over 200 Russian military facilities estimated to be on the occupied peninsula have been beyond the range of Ukrainian missiles since the war began.

Elsewhere, Vasily Golubev — the governor of Russia’s southern Rostov region, which borders Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine — said that a fire had broken out at a fuel depot following a strike by two Ukrainian drones, while Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said that two people had been injured after a shell hit their house in the village of Dubovoye.

Authorities in Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv region, where Russian forces launched a renewed offensive last week, also reported that 21 people were injured in a Russian air attack on the city of Kharkiv on Tuesday afternoon, with Governor Oleh Syniehubov saying that Russia had bombarded the city with seven airstrikes “in broad daylight” in what he called an attempt to “terrorise the civilian population”.

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