Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion last year, Moscow has used Crimea to stockpile fuel and ammunition to be funneled to the battlefields in southern Ukraine, where Kyiv is currently trying to break through Russian defensive lines. Ships from the Black Sea Fleet also have fired hundreds of missiles at Ukraine.
“A lot of Ukrainian cities and towns are within reach from Crimea,” Samuel Bendett, a Russian weapons analyst at the Center for Naval Analysis, said in an interview. “Controlling Crimea is essential if Russia wants to maintain its war effort and to keep Ukraine off balance and to maintain its positions in the territories it already captured.”
It was not immediately clear whether Saturday’s attack had hit any strategic targets. Mr. Razvozhayev said that debris had fallen near the pier in the Sukharnaya Bay — part of the larger Sevastopol Bay, which houses many military vessels and submarines — and in a park just a mile north of the harbor. The Russian state news agency Tass reported that emergency services had left for the scene and that passenger ship traffic had been suspended.
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