Russia blames US for Crimea deaths and vows response

Russia has blamed the US and vowed “consequences” for a Ukrainian missile strike on Sevastopol in occupied Crimea on Sunday, which officials say killed four people – including two children.

Around 150 more were injured in the attack as missile debris fell on a beach nearby.

Russia’s defence ministry said the missiles used by Ukraine were US-supplied ATACMS missiles, and claimed they were programmed by US specialists.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called the strike “barbaric” and accused the US of “killing Russian children”.

He pointed towards comments by President Vladimir Putin, who recently vowed to target countries supplying weapons to Ukraine.

Moscow said Sunday’s deaths and injuries were caused by falling debris, after its air defences in Crimea intercepted five missiles loaded with cluster warheads launched by Ukrainian forces.

Footage carried on Russian state TV showed chaos on the beach in the Uchkuyevka area, as people ran from the falling debris and some injured people were carried away on sun loungers.

Russia’s defence ministry claimed on Sunday that all ATACMS missiles are programmed by US specialists and guided by American satellites.

The US has been supplying ATACMS missiles to Ukraine for over a year. The system allows Ukrainian forces to strike targets up to 300km (186 miles) away, according to manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

Moscow illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 and just a handful of countries recognise the peninsula as Russian territory. It therefore does not fall under the US demands that Ukraine refrain from using Washington-supplied weapons to strike Russian territory.

The Russian foreign ministry summoned the US Ambassador Lynne Tracy on Monday, before issuing a statement accusing the US of involvement in an “atrocity” and vowing it would “not go unpunished”.

Moscow has repeatedly threatened to target countries supplying weapons to Ukraine, claiming that they are legitimate military targets.



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