A Ukrainian Storm Shadow missile strike has hit a headquarters building in Crimea belonging to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
On Wednesday, the Ukrainian military said that it had hit a command post near Sevastopol, where the Black Sea Fleet is based.
Videos shared on social media showed the British-supplied cruise missiles streaking through the sky on their way to the target. Other videos showed smoke rising into the air after the impact.
Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, said that it was behind the attacks, which also targeted several other sites on the Russian-occupied peninsula.
“We can confirm that these were the actions of the Ukrainian security and defence forces against the occupiers’ military targets,” he told state television.
Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russia-installed governor of Sevastopol, claimed that Russian air defences repelled a missile attack on the city.
Crimea has been targeted regularly since Russia launched full-scale hostilities in Ukraine last year, but Kyiv’s attacks have intensified in recent weeks.
On Ukrainian Independence Day on Aug 24, Kyiv said that it had flown its flag over Crimea following a commando raid.
And last week, a Storm Shadow missile strike damaged two Russian military naval vessels undergoing repairs in a shipyard in Sevastopol.
Images seen after the attack showed that Russia’s Rostov-on-Don submarine – one of the Black Sea Fleet’s most modern warships that had been involved in cruise missile strikes on Ukraine – had suffered severe damage.
The British-supplied Storm Shadows are fired from Ukrainian fighter jets and have the longest range of all the missiles in Ukraine’s arsenal.
US missiles ‘not off the table’
The weapons carry a sophisticated warhead designed specifically to attack heavily reinforced targets such as bunkers and fly at low altitudes to avoid enemy air defences.
Britain was the first to send the missiles to Ukraine, although France also followed suit and sent its own version, known as Scalp-EG.
Ukraine is currently seeking more long-range weapons from its allies, and particularly wants to get hold of Taurus missiles from Germany, which are similar to the Storm Shadow.
Kyiv has also long sought American ATACMS missiles, which are fired from Himars launcher vehicles but have a much greater range.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, is due to meet Joe Biden, the US president, in Washington on Thursday, with a decision on the missiles reportedly high on the Ukrainian agenda.
Sending the missiles, which can strike targets up to 190 miles away, is “not off the table” but there has been no decision yet, said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
“The president will be talking to President Zelensky about his needs and about how the United States will continue to meet those needs.”