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Ukraine said an elite squad of its troops struck the west coast of the Crimean peninsula, killing dozens of Russian soldiers, in a daring incursion in Kiev’s counteroffensive against Moscow’s occupying forces.

While elite Ukrainian forces have raided enemy positions across the Dnieper River many times in the past, this is the first official confirmation of an invasion of Crimea. One of the goals of Kiev’s counteroffensive, which began in June, was to liberate the territory and eventually cut off Moscow’s overland access to Crimea. But progress has been slow, largely to the dismay of Kiev’s allies due to the fortified Russian defenses.

In the nighttime attack in the early hours of Thursday, a speedboat crossed the Black Sea and landed on a peninsula Moscow has occupied since 2014 and used as a staging area for its all-out invasion last year, officials said.

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The Ukrainian GUR military intelligence service stated that “special forces landed by boat on the coast in the Olenivka and Mayak settlement areas”. During the mission, Ukrainian soldiers “engaged in combat” and killed several Russian soldiers, while also destroying some of their equipment, the GUR added. There were no casualties on the Ukrainian side, the statement said.

The attack came on the same day Ukraine celebrated its independence from the Soviet Union.

Ukrainian military intelligence officer Andriy Yusov told the Suspilne news website that 30 Russians were killed and four speedboats were destroyed.

in a video In photos released by the GUR, troops wearing night-vision goggles can be seen racing in high-speed boats at night before hoisting Ukrainian flags on buildings with the words: “GUR is already in Crimea” and ” Glory to Ukraine”. The video ends with troops evacuating in boats and machine gun fire.

video description

Grainy video of troops on board at night

Ukraine releases video showing troops wearing night-vision goggles on high-speed boat © Anadolu Agency/Reuters

Grainy video of troops on board at night

Russian officials did not immediately confirm or deny the incident.

Baza, a Russian social media channel believed to be close to Russian law enforcement, reported the shooting in the area, citing witnesses who said men in dark clothes landed on the shore overnight.

Ahead of the attack, the GUR released aerial footage of Cape Tarhankut on Crimea’s west coast, showing an attack Blow up a Russian S-400 air defense system.

Ukrainian forces, using homegrown attack drones and long-range missiles provided by Western allies, routinely target and attack Russian military installations and logistics supply lines in Crimea, including bridges, air bases and the Black Sea Fleet stationed in the Ukrainian port city. Sevastopol.

Reducing Russian firepower in Crimea is also crucial to breaking Russia’s Black Sea blockade of grain export ports in the Odessa region of southern Ukraine.

In recent weeks, Ukrainian forces have been slowly advancing toward the Sea of ​​Azov in the southeast of the country in an effort to cut off Russian forces from Crimea.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to liberate Crimea and other territories still occupied by Russia and rebuild the picturesque peninsula as an international tourist paradise.

“Russia has led to the isolation of Crimea and we will bring the whole world back to Crimea,” Zelensky said Wednesday as he hosted several Western leaders at the third annual Crimea Platform meeting in Kiev. Mia.”

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