Russian invasion: Kremlin threatens US after Ukrainian missile attack

Russian invasion: Kremlin threatens US after Ukrainian missile attack
Russian invasion: Kremlin threatens US after Ukrainian missile attack

The attack on the port city of Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula left people dead and many injured. Moscow blames both Kiev and Washington for the attack – and threatens consequences.

After a devastating missile attack on the city of Sevastopol on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, Moscow wants to hold Washington accountable. “It is clear that the direct involvement of the USA in hostilities resulting in the deaths of Russian civilians cannot remain without consequences,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov threatened. The Russian Foreign Ministry also summoned the US ambassador to Moscow, Lynne Tracy, and handed her a note of protest.

The sharp rhetoric was triggered by a Ukrainian missile attack on Sunday around midday. According to Russian sources, Kiev fired five US ATACMS missiles. The Defense Ministry in Moscow initially stated that it had shot down four missiles and that the fifth had at least been diverted by its own air defenses and caused to crash over a beach. However, after the high number of casualties became known, the military changed its story. According to the statement, the Ukrainians aimed the missile precisely where it exploded and intended to cause many civilian casualties.

Attack on Sevastopol: dead and many injured

A city beach in the north of Sevastopol, which has been the seat of the Russian Black Sea Fleet for 240 years, was hit. According to the latest information, 4 people were killed and more than 150 injured in the attack. Around 80 injured people are still in hospital. Around 20 of them are to be flown to Moscow due to the severity of their injuries. Many of the victims are children.

Kremlin spokesman Peskov spoke of a “barbaric attack”. Moscow knows exactly who is behind it, he said. Kiev is to blame, but it is not the Ukrainians who are controlling such technically complex missiles. Rather, American military advisers are operating them. The Russian Foreign Ministry made a similar argument when summoning US Ambassador Tracy. The USA bears the same responsibility as Ukraine, it said.

In the fall of 2023, the US government began delivering the ATACMS missiles that Ukraine had long requested. The US also relaxed the long-standing unofficial ban on using its weapons against Russian territory. However, this change has no effect on Crimea, as the Russian-controlled peninsula is part of Ukraine under international law. Kyiv was therefore already able to attack military targets there with Western weapons.

Moscow uses reports of civilian casualties

Moscow used the reports of the many civilian casualties to reinforce its portrayal of an inhumane West and an allegedly fascist leadership in Ukraine, especially for its own citizens. From a Russian perspective, the comment by the advisor in the Ukrainian presidential office, Mykhailo Podoliak, seemed like a confirmation: President Volodymyr Zelensky’s confidant referred to the victims as “civilian occupiers” and Crimea, which is popular with tourists, as a military base.

Ukraine has long complained that Russia is conducting its aggressive war through Crimea. The headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet was badly damaged in a missile attack in the autumn. In addition, the Belbek military airfield is located in the immediate vicinity of the beach and continues to be used in the aggressive war that has been going on for more than two years. This is one of the reasons why Ukraine has itself set its sights on Crimea, especially in recent months. Zelensky has also declared that he wants to liberate the peninsula from Russian occupation.

Kyiv targets air defense facilities

Kiev’s attacks are primarily aimed at anti-aircraft facilities, although the destruction of numerous other military facilities has also been reported. Moscow has recently suffered numerous setbacks thanks to the new Western weapons. According to experts in Moscow, this is one of the reasons why the media coverage of the many casualties is likely to be large. However, the consequences of Kiev’s attacks on Russian-controlled territory are disproportionate to the high number of casualties and the severe destruction in Ukraine.

Peskov did not say what specific consequences the missile attack on Sevastopol would have for the USA. Time will tell, he said. The 56-year-old referred to statements made by President Vladimir Putin during his trip to Asia last week. There, the Kremlin chief had again threatened to respond to Western arms deliveries to Ukraine by passing on Russian weapons and technology to forces hostile to the West.

Putin made the statement against the backdrop of his trip to North Korea, where ruler Kim Jong Un is developing nuclear weapons. Western states already suspect Moscow of passing on technology to Pyongyang despite sanctions – in exchange for artillery ammunition and missiles that it will use to wreak destruction in its war of aggression against Ukraine.

Source: Stern

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