Ukraine says shipment of Russian Kalibr cruise missiles destroyed in transit to Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.
Ukraine has reported the destruction of “several” Russian cruise missiles as they were transported by rail to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.
Ukraine’s military service said late Monday that several Kalibr cruise missiles had been destroyed by an explosion, without explicitly saying that Ukraine was responsible for the blast or how exactly the shipment of high-powered missiles was destroyed.
“An explosion in the town of Dzhankoi in the north of temporarily occupied Crimea destroyed Russian Kalibr-KN cruise missiles as they were being transported by rail,” Ukraine’s intelligence agency said in posts on social media. The missiles were intended for submarine launch by Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, the agency said.
Ihor Ivin, the Russian-installed head of the Dzhankoi government, is said to have said that the city was attacked by drones and a 33-year-old man was injured by shrapnel from a downed drone.
He was hospitalized and expected to survive. A house, school and supermarket caught fire, and the power grid was also damaged in the attack, Russian state news agency TASS Ivin quoted on local Krym-24 TV channel.
Russia-appointed Crimea governor Sergei Aksenov said on social media that anti-aircraft fire was fired near Dzhankoi, where Ukrainian intelligence said the cruise missiles were destroyed. Aksenov said falling debris injured one person and damaged both a home and a store.
Russian officials have not confirmed that any missiles were destroyed in the attack. Ukrainian media reported that the sound of drone engines could be heard before the explosion in Dzhankoi.
Kalibr cruise missiles have often been used in Russian attacks on Ukraine. In July 2022, a submarine-launched Kalibr cruise missile killed 23 civilians — including three children — in the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia. Russia claimed the missile was aimed at a meeting of Ukrainian air force commanders and representatives of Western arms suppliers.
Sounds from the drones that hit Dzhankoy in occupied Crimea are similar to those made by the Iranian Shahed-136/131 drones.
Some sources speculate that Shaheds were retargeted at Crimean-based targets. It is more likely that Ukraine has developed drones with similar engines.
📹via @RoksolanaKrim pic.twitter.com/djmDckWpKz
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) March 20, 2023
While reports of attacks on Russian military bases, assassinations and other targets in Crimea during the war have been a regular occurrence, Ukraine has rarely, if ever, explicitly claimed responsibility for such attacks, but welcomes their outcome.
The reported destruction of Crimea’s cruise missile cargo follows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the peninsula on Saturday in an unannounced tour to mark the ninth anniversary of Ukraine’s annexation of the region.
Putin made the trip the day after the International Criminal Court (ICC) said it had issued an arrest warrant against him on war crimes charges for illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine. The court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, also issued an arrest warrant for the detention of Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights. Russia claims that the deportation of children from Ukraine is a humanitarian act.
The ICC orders were immediately rejected by Moscow as outrageous and welcomed by Ukraine as a major breakthrough in pursuing justice for the victims of Russian war crimes.
Foreshadowing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, Moscow seized Crimea in 2014 and then annexed the peninsula in a move many countries condemned as illegal.
Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy has promised to recapture all Ukrainian land Russia has now occupied, including Crimea.