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Moscow claims US, UK aided Ukraine’s missile strike on naval HQ

Smoke rises from the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol following the attack on Friday. (Planet Labs PBC/AP pic)

MOSCOW: Moscow claimed today that Washington and London helped Ukraine orchestrate an unprecedented strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in annexed Crimea last week.

“There is not the slightest doubt that the attack was planned in advance using western intelligence assets, Nato satellite equipment, and reconnaissance aircraft,” Russian foreign ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said.

The missile strike was carried out “in close coordination with the American and British intelligence services”, she added.

Ukraine claimed responsibility for a missile attack that on Friday struck the headquarters of Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet in annexed Crimea, sparking a huge fire.

Moscow said that the attack left one Russian serviceman missing, while Kyiv claimed that the strike killed thirty-four officers including the fleet commander, Viktor Sokolov.

Moscow has however denied the claim.

Undated footage broadcast today by the Russian defence ministry’s Zvezda TV channel showed Sokolov saying that the Black Sea Fleet was “fulfilling the tasks the command has set”.

Since sending troops to Ukraine in February 2022, the Kremlin has accused western powers of de-facto fighting against Moscow by providing financial and military support to Kyiv.