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Ukraine: Missile Killed Dozens of Russian Officers in Crimea
Ukraine claimed Monday that its missile strike on Russia's Black Sea Fleet headquarters in annexed Crimea last week killed 34 senior naval officers, including the fleet commander. The attack also wounded 105 people according to Kyiv. But Moscow disputes the casualties.
Ukraine's Special Forces stated the strike on the fleet's main building in Sevastopol eliminated numerous high-ranking personnel. But Russia has not confirmed any deaths beyond the one initially announced, later retracted as missing instead of killed.
If accurate, the losses would represent a devastating blow to Russia's naval command structure in Crimea supporting its Ukraine invasion. Moscow has provided minimal updates since the attack. Ukraine is now frequently targeting Russian military sites in Crimea.
Strike Also Reportedly Critically Wounded a Key General
In addition to the fleet chief's alleged death, Ukraine's intelligence chief claimed the attack critically injured General Romanchuk, a senior Russian eastern front commander. Moscow has not corroborated his supposed wounds either.
The lack of transparency around Russian casualties raises credibility questions. But neutralizing numerous senior Crimean commanders would impact Russia's naval war efforts and cross-border strikes on Ukraine.
12 Ukrainian Aircraft Involved in Meticulously Planned Attack
Kyiv said 12 Ukrainian jets conducted the meticulously coordinated attack on locations with high concentrations of Russian assets and troops. In addition to the headquarters, it targeted anti-aircraft systems and artillery units.
The scale indicates careful intelligence gathering and operational planning preceded the precisely executed strike. Hitting Russia's naval nerve center reveals Ukraine's determination to disrupt command infrastructure supporting the invasion.
Russia Claims Air Defenses Intercepted Ukrainian Drones
Moscow asserted its air defenses shot down Ukrainian drones near military sites in several Russian border regions overnight.
It also said Crimean defenses intercepted additional drones, underscoring intensified attempts to penetrate. But Ukraine's apparent success infiltrating Sevastopol's heavily guarded interior with missiles demonstrates vulnerabilities.
Putin Vows to 'Respond Harshly' to Attacks on Crimea
The bold Ukrainian strike comes despite President Putin's repeated warnings that attacks on Russian territory would elicit severe retaliation. He declared Crimea part of Russia after the contested 2014 annexation.
But Putin faces constraints on retaliation while struggling in Ukraine. Full-scale escalation risks further strategic losses given Russia's depleted military state. Ukraine is displaying increasing confidence in targeting Crimean bases.
Odesa Hit by Fresh Barrage of Russian Missiles and Drones
Even as Moscow reels from the Crimea attack, Russia unleashed a renewed missile and drone bombardment on Odesa. Strikes killed two civilians and damaged port facilities and a hotel.
twelve Kalibr cruise missiles were among the projectiles launched from Russian ships in the latest bid to debilitate Ukraine's crucial Black Sea ports. But Kyiv claims a majority were intercepted.
UN Documents New Russian War Crimes in Ukraine
A UN investigative commission reported extensive new evidence of Russian atrocities and possible genocide in Ukraine.
It accused Russia of summary executions, torture, rape, forced deportations and other grave abuses violating international law. While noting some Ukrainian violations, it blamed Russia for the overwhelming majority.
The damning report alleges a horrific pattern of violence and terror against civilians by Russia's occupation forces. It joins previous UN conclusions that war crimes in Ukraine are systematic, not isolated incidents. Russia rejects the charges.
US and Allies Expanding Advanced Arms to Ukraine
Western allies continue expanding sophisticated weapons supplies to aid Ukraine's counteroffensive, including US-made Abrams tanks.
Bolstering Ukraine's armor and air defenses is proving critical to resisting Russia's numerical advantages in some domains. Advanced artillery and missiles have also been pivotal in turning the tide.
But Kyiv says much more heavy weaponry is urgently required to decisively reclaim occupied territories before Russia can regroup. Following the Crimea strike, Ukraine is pressuring allies to further step up deliveries.
Russia's losses may curb its appetite for future aggression. But deprived of rapid victory, Moscow seems determined to keep pummeling Ukraine regardless of additional costs until it secures gains.
Ukraine's fierce defenders continue paying the ultimate price to protect their nation's freedom and repel a ruthless invader deliberately targeting civilians and cities. Preventing future atrocities will require not just punishing Russia's crumbling military apparatus but its political leadership.
Summarised from the original article by - apnews.com
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