Russia Says US Is Responsible for Deadly Ukrainian Attack on Crimea

Russia Says US Is Responsible for Deadly Ukrainian Attack on Crimea
The Pantsyr S-1 air defense missile system (NATO name SA-22 Greyhound) atop the Russian Defense Ministry headquarters in Moscow on Aug. 3, 2023. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images)

MOSCOW—Russia said on Sunday that the United States was responsible for a Ukrainian attack on Crimean peninsula with five U.S.–supplied missiles that killed four people, including two children, and injured 151 more.

The Russian Defence Ministry said four of the U.S.–delivered Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles, equipped with cluster warheads, were shot down by air defense systems and the ammunition of a fifth had detonated in mid-air.

Footage on Russian state television showed people running from a beach and some people being carried off on sun loungers.

Russian authorities in Crimea said missile fragments had fallen just after noon near a beach on the north side of the city of Sevastopol where locals were on holiday.

The incident generated a furious reaction among Russian public figures.

The Defense Ministry said U.S. specialists had set the missiles’ flight coordinates on the basis of information from U.S. spy satellites, meaning Washington was directly responsible.

“Responsibility for the deliberate missile attack on the civilians of Sevastopol is borne above all by Washington, which supplied these weapons to Ukraine, and by the Kyiv regime, from whose territory this strike was carried out,” the ministry said.

Russia sent its troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

The United States began supplying Ukraine with longer range ATACMS missiles, which have a 300-kilometre (186-mile) range, earlier this year.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify battlefield reports from either side.

Treating the Injured

Sevastopol Governor Mihail Razvozhaev put the death toll at four, with 144 injured, including 82 taken to hospitals. Twenty-seven children were among the injured.

Specialist doctors were being flown in from other parts of Russia.

Russia will respond to Sunday’s attack, the Defense Ministry said, without elaborating. The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin had been “in constant contact with the military” since the attack.

Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council, described the incident as “a vile, despicable act against our people.”

He likened it to attacks carried out by gunmen on Sunday against a synagogue, a church, and police post in Dagestan and said there was “no difference to us” between the U.S. administration, Ukrainian leaders, and “crazy fanatics.”

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill said there “was no justification whatsoever for a missile strike on civilians” and expressed indignation that the incident occurred on the Orthodox holiday of Trinity.

Neither Ukraine nor the United States has commented on the attack, which came on a day when Ukraine said one person had been killed and 10 others wounded by Russian strikes on the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.