Ukraine unleashed a barrage of ten cruise missiles along with kamikaze drones in a massive assault on Russia’s powerful Black Sea Fleet.
Vladimir Putin’s forces were rocked as a submarine and an assault ship were blasted during the onslaught on the Crimean port of Sevastopol.
British-made Storm Shadow missiles and explosive-packed drone boats are believed to have been used in the biggest attack of its kind on the fleet – marking the first time such weapons have been used in Crimea.
Shocking footage showed huge plumes of smoke and flames seen for miles around rising from the blitzed base. It is the latest blow to embattled Putin’s war effort – and was a major embarrassment for Vlad as he sat down with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un some 5,500 miles away.
Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles can travel up to 600mph and blast targets up to 350 miles away. Ukraine has strongly suggested the western supplied missiles were used in the brutal attack – which can hit targets at maximum range in just 35 minutes.
Putin’s prized Kilo-class Rostov-on-Don submarine was damaged in the shipyard strike, Kremlin-friendly Shot media said. The diesel-electric vessel, launched in 2014, had been used to attack Ukraine. A second damaged vessel was a large landing ship called Minsk – a large Russian amphibious ship.
The head of Ukraine’s air force Mykola Oleshchuk thanked his pilots for their “excellent combat work”. He strongly suggested the weaponry had been launched by Ukrainian aircraft – and warned there is more to come.
This latest attack follows earlier damage inflicted on Russian landing ships Saratov, Novocherkassk, and Caesar Kunikov.
The strikes occurred as Putin hosted Kim Jong-Un during a summit – which the U.S. has warned could lead to a deal to supply Moscow’s depleted troops in Ukraine with arms.
Kim offered his full support for Russia’s just fight and said the two reached an agreement to deepen their strategic and tactical cooperation and solidarity in the struggle to defend sovereign rights and security.
The Putin-appointed governor of occupied Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said at least 24 people were wounded and two died. Footage showed the scale of the attack – the largest of the war so far – on the city which is the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
A shipbuilding and repair yard was engulfed in flames and a power plant and other Black Sea naval facilities were also reportedly hit. The Russian defence ministry said ten cruise missiles attacked the shipyard and claimed seven had been shot down. It admitted two ships undergoing repair were “damaged” but did not identify the vessels.