Ukraine Says Explosion in Crimea Destroyed Russian Cruise Missiles

An explosion hit the town of Dzhankoi in Russian-occupied Crimea on Monday, and Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said the blast had destroyed Russian Kalibr cruise missiles that were being transported by rail.

Kremlin-appointed authorities in Crimea denied the claim saying that all the drones had been “aimed at civilian objects.”

“One was shot down over the Dzhankoi technical school and fell between the academic building and the dormitory,” Oleg Kryuchkov, adviser to the Russia-appointed head of Crimea wrote on the social messaging app Telegram. “There were no military facilities nearby.”

Sergei Aksyonov, the Kremlin-installed leader of Crimea, said that debris from the explosion had damaged a house and a shop, leaving one person injured.

Dzhankoi, a logistics node in northern Crimea, is about 150 miles from the front lines and is a vulnerability for Russian logistics. A railway running through the town that is being used to transfer weapons links the peninsula with Russia by a bridge that was seriously damaged in an attack in the fall.

The Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia illegally seized in 2014, is a crucial military base and staging ground for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian warships in the Black Sea have fired cruise missiles at Ukrainian targets that are sometimes hundreds of miles away, hitting towns and cities and damaging the country’s energy infrastructure.

After a major assault last December, Russia’s Defense Ministry released a picture showing a Kalibr cruise missile and a message: “Kalibrs will never run out.”

Ukraine’s military did not claim responsibility for the attacks. Although the government has not acknowledged it publicly, the country has struck repeatedly at military targets in Crimea and other Russian-occupied territory that Moscow now claims as its own, and at infrastructure like the Kerch Strait bridge that links Crimea to Russia.

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