Russian missiles destroyed in occupied Crimea, Ukraine says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a commemorative event on the occasion of the Russia Ukraine war one year anniversary, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 24, 2023. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
Ukraine's President Volodomyr Zelenskyy. Credit: AP

An explosion in the north of Russian-occupied Crimea has destroyed missiles belonging to the Kremlin, Ukraine's defence ministry said.

The region's Russian-appointed governor reported an incident in the same Crimean town, Dzhankoi.

ITV News has been unable to independently verify the reports.

A statement by the Ukrainian military agency said multiple Kalibr cruise missiles were destroyed by an explosion, without explicitly saying Ukraine was responsible or what weapon had been used.

According to the statement, the missiles were being carried by train and destined to be launched from submarines.

The agency implied that Ukraine's government was responsible, saying the explosion continues "the process of Russia's demilitarisation and prepares the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea for de-occupation".

Moscow seized Crimea in 2014 in a move that many countries condemned as illegal.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to re-capture all Ukrainian land now occupied by Russia, including Crimea.

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Meanwhile, the Russian-appointed governor of Crimea, Sergei Aksenov, said falling debris from the explosion injured one person and damaged a home and store.

He did not mention that cruise missiles were hit, specify why the anti-aircraft weapons were fired or how the injury and damage were caused.

Throughout the war, reports have surfaced of attacks on Russian military bases, assassinations and other targets in Crimea, with Ukraine rarely, if ever, explicitly claiming responsibility.

Elsewhere, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida began a surprise visit to Ukraine on Tuesday, coinciding with Chinese Premiere Xi Jinping's trip to neighbouring Russia.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is visiting Ukraine for the first time since Russia's invasion began. Credit: AP

Mr Kishida is expected to meet President Zelenskyy in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and "affirm his commitment to defend the rules-based international order".

His visit comes as it's been announced that around £4 million has been raised for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to help support its investigations into alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

Last week, the court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin as being "allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population [children] and that of unlawful transfer of population [children] from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation".