Ukraine Strikes Russian Ship in Crimea with Cruise Missiles

Ukraine Strikes Russian Ship in Crimea with Cruise Missiles

A daring attack on a shipyard in Kerch

Ukrainian forces launched a surprise attack on a shipyard in Kerch, a city in the east of the Crimean Peninsula, on Saturday night. The Ukrainian air force commander, Mykola Oleshchuk, said that they fired 15 cruise missiles at the Zaliv shipyard, where one of the most modern ships of Russia’s Black Sea fleet was docked. The ship, a carrier of the Kalibr cruise missiles, was reportedly damaged by the strike.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that Ukrainian forces attacked the shipyard, but claimed that air defenses shot down 13 missiles and only two hit the facility. The ministry did not give details about the ship or the extent of the damage. It also accused Ukraine of violating international law and endangering civilian lives.

The Zaliv shipyard is one of the largest in Crimea and has been used by Russia to build and repair naval vessels since the illegal annexation of the peninsula in 2014. The attack was the latest in a series of Ukrainian strikes on naval facilities in Crimea, as part of a military campaign to liberate the region from Russian occupation.

Ukraine Strikes Russian Ship in Crimea with Cruise Missiles

A fierce escalation of the conflict

The attack on the shipyard came amid a fierce escalation of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, which started in 2014 when Russia invaded and annexed Crimea and supported separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Since then, more than 14,000 people have been killed and over a million displaced by the fighting.

In April 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, sending hundreds of thousands of troops, tanks, artillery, and aircraft across the border. Ukraine, backed by its Western allies, has been resisting the invasion with all its might, inflicting heavy casualties on the Russian forces.

The conflict has also spread to the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, where both sides have been engaged in naval clashes and missile strikes. Ukraine has been targeting Russian ships and bases in Crimea, while Russia has been trying to block Ukrainian access to the sea and its ports.

The international community has condemned Russia’s aggression and imposed sanctions on Moscow, but has not intervened militarily to stop the war. The United Nations Security Council has been paralyzed by Russia’s veto power, and the diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution have been fruitless.

A desperate attempt to break the stalemate

The attack on the shipyard was seen by some analysts as a desperate attempt by Ukraine to break the stalemate on the ground and to weaken Russia’s naval capabilities in the Black Sea. Ukraine has been relying on its air force and missile systems to strike at Russia’s weak points and to deter further advances.

However, the attack also carried a high risk of provoking a harsh retaliation from Russia, which considers Crimea as its strategic asset and has vowed to defend it at any cost. Russia has a large and powerful navy in the Black Sea, equipped with advanced weapons and submarines. It also has a strong air defense system in Crimea, which has shot down several Ukrainian drones and aircraft in the past.

Some experts warned that the attack could trigger a wider war in the region, involving other countries such as Turkey and NATO. Turkey, which has a large and influential ethnic Turkic population in Crimea, has been supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. NATO, which has several member states bordering the Black Sea, has been conducting naval exercises and patrols in the area to show solidarity with Ukraine and to deter Russian aggression.

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