KYIV – Ukraine said it struck Russian naval targets and port infrastructure early on Wednesday in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, in what appeared to be the biggest attack of the war on the home of the Russian navy’s Black Sea Fleet.
A Ukrainian intelligence official said a large vessel and a submarine struck in the attack were so badly damaged as to be likely beyond repair.
The strike on Crimea, seized and annexed by Russia in 2014, was confirmed by Moscow.
It highlighted Kyiv’s growing missile capabilities as Russia continues to bombard Ukraine from afar with long-range missiles and assault drones.
“We confirm a large landing vessel and submarine were hit. We do not comment on the means (used) for the strike,” Ukrainian military intelligence official Andriy Yusov told Reuters, giving no further details on the scale of the damage.
Mr Yusov later told national television: “Those are significant damages. We can now say that with a high probability they are not subject to restoration.”
Russia’s defence ministry said in statement that Ukraine had attacked a Black Sea shipyard with 10 cruise missiles and three uncrewed speedboats in the early hours, damaging two military vessels that had been undergoing repairs.
It said it downed seven of the incoming missiles and that the attack boats had been destroyed by a Russian patrol ship.
An image circulated online and verified by Reuters showed a docked vessel that had sustained serious damage.
Mr Yuri Ihnat, spokesman for Ukraine’s air force, was wary on the Russian assertion that its units had downed most of the incoming missiles.
“It’s hard to say how many they were capable of downing,” Ihnat told national television.
“It is important not to underestimate their anti-aircraft units. Perhaps they destroyed them. Perhaps not.”
Retired Ukrainian navy captain Andriy Ryzhenko, speaking to Reuters by telephone, said: “It really is the biggest attack on Sevastopol since the beginning of the war.”
The city is home to the Black Sea Fleet which the Kremlin uses to project power into the Middle East and Mediterranean and – during the war in Ukraine – to impose a de facto blockade on Ukraine’s seaborne food exports via the Turkish straits.
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