Two Russian ships land in Crimea, officials say

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Ukraine says it has hit two landing craft, a communications center and other equipment used by Russia’s Black Sea fleet off Crimea.

The announcement by the Ukrainian authorities says that the Yamal and Azov ships have been destroyed.

Russia’s ambassador to the port of Sevastopol said 10 Ukrainian missiles had been shot down.

Russia also launched missile and drone attacks on the capital Kyiv, and the Lviv region earlier on Sunday.

In making the announcement, Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russian-elected mayor of Sevastopol, said the damage to residential buildings and transportation as a result of the “massive attack” had taken place.

He asked people not to post any information or pictures.

UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps praised the attack on Russian ships, calling it “a very historic moment for Ukraine”.

“In plain English, it means that Putin can no longer 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 the war, and that the UK’s support for Kyiv in the face of Russian aggression “will remain unconditional”.

The BBC was unable to confirm Ukraine’s claims that it had destroyed Russian landing craft, which are used to drop troops and weapons ashore without the need for a drill or port.

On Sunday morning, Kyiv residents took cover in metro stations as the attack began at 05:00 (03:00 GMT).

Officials said their defense forces shot down 18 Russian missiles and 25 drones there. There was only a small amount of damage.

About 20 Russian missiles and seven drones target “critical infrastructure” west of Lviv. No damage has been reported.

One of the submarines entered the airspace of neighboring Poland, a member of Nato, the military announced.

“The object entered Polish territory near the town of Oserdow and stayed there for 39 seconds. During the entire flight, it was observed by military radar systems,” the military said in a statement.

“If there were indications that this object was going to any targets in Poland, it would have been shot down and adequate measures would have been taken,” Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz said.

Police inspect the side of a Russian Kh-55 missile, which was intercepted during a missile launch, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, at a park in Kyiv, Ukraine March 24, 2024.

Parts of the missile landed in a park in Kyiv

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

There has been an increase in airstrikes by both sides in the past few days, even as Russia is slowly making progress in taking part of the eastern part of the country.

On Friday, Russia fired several missiles into Ukraine, hit the dam and leave a million Ukrainians without power.

And Ukraine has been scoring goals in Crimea regularly.

In particular, Ukraine has repeatedly hit Black Sea vessels – which appear to be the best of Russian warships. Satellite images last year showed dozens of warships from Crimea had left the island for the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.

Last month, the Russian submarine Caesar Kunikov sank off the coast of Crimea, according to the Ukrainian military.

The ship Novocherkassk was hit while docked in Feodosiya in December last year.

In one of the biggest attacks on the Black Sea fleet, last September Ukraine attacked naval and port facilities, using 10 warships and three unmanned submarines. It caused a huge fire at the Sevastopol shipyard.

Ukraine’s biggest missile in naval warfare so far has sunk in the Russian Black Sea cruise ship, Moskva, in April 2022.

Ukraine has also inspected the Kerch bridge several times, as it is an important way to support the Russian troops occupying the southern regions of the country.

Kyiv has repeatedly stated that it plans to retake Crimea and all territories occupied by Russia.

Ukraine is heavily dependent on arms from the US and other Western organizations to keep up the fight against Russia – a much larger military with more weapons and ammunition.

In addition to being a platform that can destroy Ukraine, the Black Sea fleet is a major indicator of the presence of Russian forces in the region.

It was established in Crimea under a lease agreement, even before Russia took over the island.

President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia must control Crimea so that it does not fall into the hands of the Europeans.

Location of Russian Black Sea fleet HQ in SevastopolLocation of Russian Black Sea fleet HQ in Sevastopol

Location of Russian Black Sea fleet HQ in Sevastopol

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