Ukraine’s recent missile attack on a military airfield in Crimea’s Sevastopol has raised tensions in the region once again. This act of aggression comes as part of Ukraine’s ongoing efforts to target Vladimir Putin’s logistics and infrastructure on the Crimean Peninsula, which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014. The attack specifically targeted the Belbek military airfield, a strategic location in Crimea that holds significance for the Russian military.
Russian air defense units were quick to respond, successfully intercepting and downing the missile near the Belbek military airfield. This incident unfolded during the late hours of Monday, as reported by Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russian-backed governor, on his official Telegram channel early Tuesday. As a result of this attack, Sevastopol was put under an air raid alert at around 11:30 pm on Monday. The alert continued for approximately an hour, extending into midnight, as Russian air defense systems were activated to counter any further threats. During the attack, traffic on the main bridge connecting the Russian mainland to the Crimean peninsula was disrupted temporarily but was swiftly restored.
Fortunately, the raid alert was lifted around 12:30 am, providing some relief to the residents of Sevastopol. This incident marks another unsettling episode in the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia over the status of Crimea. Notably, just three days before this missile strike, Ukraine launched another attack that targeted the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea navy in Sevastopol on September 22nd.
While Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility for these attacks on Crimea and other Russian targets, it has expressed satisfaction at their success. Furthermore, Ukraine indirectly showcased the scale of the attack on the Black Sea navy headquarters in a video depicting Ukrainian assaults on Russian positions.
In a significant development, Ukraine has claimed that Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, was killed in the missile strike on the Russian Navy headquarters in Sevastopol. The attack, which reportedly involved British-made Storm Shadow missiles, resulted in the tragic deaths of 34 officers, including Admiral Sokolov. Sokolov had been handpicked by President Putin for this crucial role just last year.
The announcement of Admiral Sokolov’s death was made by the Ukrainian Special Operations Forces in a social media update on Monday. However, Moscow has not yet officially responded to this claim. Initially, the Russian defense ministry stated that the strike had killed one service member but later issued a statement indicating that he was missing. The Ukrainian Special Operations Forces countered this by asserting that Sokolov was indeed among the 34 individuals killed during the missile strike, and they also claimed that 105 others occupying the facility were injured.
The situation in Crimea remains volatile, with tensions between Ukraine and Russia escalating periodically. These attacks on military targets in Crimea only serve to exacerbate the already fragile geopolitical situation in the region. The international community continues to monitor the developments closely, recognizing the potential for further instability and conflict.