Russian FM Sergey Lavrov remarked that the Western powers are “fighting against us, using the hands and bodies of Ukrainians”
Kiev launched cruise missile attacks on the Crimean Peninsula with weapons provided by NATO on Friday. This was followed by another missile strike on Sevastopol, where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based, on Saturday morning.
Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s intelligence chief, told Voice of America – the US state-funded media outlet – that at least nine people were killed, and 16 others were wounded during the attack on Friday. The Russian Defense Ministry says there were no casualties, but the strikes have left one service member missing.
A Ukrainian military source speaking with the BBC said that the attack was carried out using the UK-provided Storm Shadow cruise missiles, which have a range of roughly 155 miles. The missiles can be launched from Kiev’s Soviet-era MIG-29 warplanes.
According to a statement from the Ukrainian military, Friday’s missile strike was specifically timed to target a meeting of Russian naval officials. The statement claimed the air force conducted 12 strikes on the Black Sea fleet headquarters, which resulted in “dozens of dead and wounded occupiers, including the top management of the fleet.”
Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, following a US-backed coup in Kiev. Polling conducted since then has indicated overwhelming support among Crimeans for rejoining the Russian Federation. Even Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who supports Kiev’s strikes on Russia, has previously acknowledged that Crimea is a “red line” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sevastopol’s governor, Mikhail Razvozhaev, wrote on Telegram that the city had come under attack again on Saturday morning, citing debris from missiles that had fallen near a pier after being downed by air defenses. Razvozhaev also noted that missile fragments had fallen in a northern Sevastopol park.
Echoing statements he made earlier this month, in the wake of Friday’s attack, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared the Western powers are “de facto fighting us, using the hands and bodies of Ukrainians.” He described the West as “a real empire of lies,” incapable of negotiating with the rest of the world.
Earlier in the war, efforts by Tel Aviv, Ankara, and the UN to broker a peace settlement which could have ended the war on terms acceptable to Kiev and Moscow were deliberately sabotaged by Washington and London.
Earlier this year, ahead of Kiev’s counteroffensive – which the White House and Western military officials knew would fail – Blinken denounced Beijing’s attempts to mediate negotiations between the two sides and achieve a ceasefire.
These latest attacks on Crimea come as the US is preparing to significantly escalate the proxy war by sending Ukraine a cluster-armed version of the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which has a range of almost 200 miles.
The missiles will be used to carry out further assaults against Crimea as well as the Russian mainland. The Russian Foreign Ministry has warned that if Washington provides Kiev with ATACMS, it would cross the Kremlin’s “red line” and make the US a direct “party to the conflict.”
This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.