An explosion that occurred in the Crimean city of Dzhankoi has reportedly destroyed Russian cruise missiles intended for use by Moscow’s Black Sea fleet.
Although the ministry did not claim responsibility, Monday’s explosion in Dzhankoi could be a significant development as it is a rare and bold attack on the territory that was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, if confirmed.
Dzhankoi is in close proximity to a Russian military air base, and Ukrainian officials have been claiming that the city and its surrounding areas have been turned into Russia’s largest military base in Crimea.
Russian officials there said the city was the target of a drone attack. Sergei Aksenov, the Russian-appointed governor of Crimea, said anti-aircraft weapons were fired near Dzhankoi but did not say why or refer to cruise missiles. Falling debris injured one person and damaged a home and a store, Aksenov said.
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior ministry, circulated footage he said reportedly showed a train station in the city being hit by a loud single, fiery blast. It was not possible to verify his claim.
Other footage showed the same blast, as well as the sound of what could be anti-aircraft fire beforehand.
The Ukraine defence ministry’s main intelligence directorate said on Monday: “An explosion in Dzhankoi city in the north of temporarily occupied Crimea destroyed Russian Kalibr-KN cruise missiles as they were being transported by rail.”
It said the missiles, designed to be launched from ships in Russia’s Black Sea fleet, had an operational range of more than 2,500km (1,550 miles) on land and 375km at sea.
Ihor Ivin, the Russia-installed head of the Dzhankoi administration, was quoted as saying the city was attacked by drones, and that a 33-year-old man suffered a shrapnel injury from a downed drone.
Russian state news agency Tass quoted Ivin as saying on Krym-24 TV that a house, school and grocery store caught fire, and that the power grid sustained damage.
Oleg Kryuchkov, an adviser to Aksenov, claimed the drones were laden with shrapnel and aimed at civilian targets. One was hit and came down near a technical school while others came down in residential areas, he said.
While Ukraine did not claim responsibility for Monday night’s attack, it has shown it is able to strike at long-distance targets in Crimea. Russia’s Black Sea flagship vessel, the Admiral Makarov, was damaged in a drone attack on the Crimean port of Sevastopol in October, according to an examination of video footage.
Ukraine is also presumed to have struck the bridge connecting the peninsula with Russia, the Saky aerodrome, and the naval headquarters building in Sevastopol.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has always vowed to liberate Crimea, together with all of occupied southern and eastern Ukraine.