Ukraine Missile Hits HQ of Russia's Black Sea Fleet

SEVASTOPOL - A Ukrainian missile strike has hit the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea fleet in Crimea.

A serviceman is missing after the missile attack, according to Moscow. Footage on social media shows plumes of smoke over the building in Sevastopol. The fleet is an important target for Kyiv and is seen as the best of Russia's navy.

Ukraine has hit several targets in Crimea recently, including an air-defence system and two naval vessels.

A Ukrainian military source said Friday's attack on Crimea was carried out using Storm Shadow missiles, which are supplied by Britain and France, highlighting the importance of Western weaponry to Kyiv. Russia's defence ministry said five missiles were shot down by its air defences, while the Ukrainian military-linked StratCom Ukraine said Ukraine has "successfully" hit the naval base. Ukraine's air force commander General Mykola Oleshchuk said on Telegram "we told you there'd be more".

Kyiv's forces have recently been launching near-daily strikes against Russian forces based in Crimea. Last week, Ukraine's navy claimed to have knocked out an S-400 air defence missile battery covering the peninsula, degrading Russia's ability to defend against fresh attacks. A day earlier, a large Russian landing ship and submarine were damaged in an attack that Ukraine said also made use of Storm Shadow missiles.

The attacks on Crimea are strategically and symbolically important. As well as being a platform from which to attack Ukraine, the Black Sea fleet is a major symbol of Russia's centuries-old military presence in the region. It was based in Crimea under a leasing deal even before Russia illegally annexed the peninsula in 2014.
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