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Russia says U.S. is responsible for deadly Ukrainian attack on Crimea

2024.06.23 10:58

Russia says U.S. is responsible for deadly Ukrainian attack on Crimea

By Guy Faulconbridge and Filipp Lebedev

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia said on Sunday that the United States was responsible for a Ukrainian attack on the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula with five U.S.-supplied missiles that killed at least five people including three children and injured 124 more.

The Russian Defence Ministry said four of the U.S.-delivered Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles, equipped with cluster warheads, were shot down by air defence systems and the ammunition of a fifth had detonated in mid-air.

The ministry said U.S. specialists had set the missiles’ flight coordinates on the basis of information from U.S. spy satellites, meaning Washington was directly responsible.

“Responsibility for the deliberate missile attack on the civilians of Sevastopol is borne above all by Washington, which supplied these weapons to Ukraine, and by the Kyiv regime, from whose territory this strike was carried out,” the ministry said.

The United States began supplying Ukraine with longer range ATACMS missiles, which have a 300-km range, earlier this year.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify battlefield reports from either side.

Television footage on Russian state television showed people running from a beach and some people being carried off on sun loungers.

Russian-installed authorities in Crimea said missile fragments had fallen just after noon near a beach on the north side of the city of Sevastopol where locals were holidaying.

At least 124 were injured, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said. The injured included 27 children, five of whom are in a serious condition, authorities said.

RUSSIA VOWS RESPONSE

Russia will respond to Sunday’s attack, the Defence Ministry said, without elaborating. The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin has been “in constant contact with the military” since the attack on Sevastopol.

Neither Ukraine nor the United States has commented on the attack, which came on a day when Ukraine said one person had been killed and 10 others wounded by Russian strikes on the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and now views the Black Sea peninsula it as an integral part of its territory, though most of the world considers it still as part of Ukraine.

Putin has repeatedly accused the U.S. of using Ukraine to undermine Russia’s own security – something Kyiv and its Western allies deny – and has warned of growing risks of a direct confrontation between Moscow and the U.S.-led NATO alliance.

Putin sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, in what he cast as a defensive move against a hostile and aggressive West. Ukraine and the West say Russia is waging an imperial-style war of aggression and a land grab.



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