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Updated: Attack on occupied Crimea damages communications equipment, casualties reported, partisans claim

by Dmytro Basmat and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 24, 2024 3:46 AM 3 min read
A view of the Crimean Bridge, built following Russia's illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea. (Photo by Stringer/AFP via Getty Images)
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Editor's note: This is a developing story and is being updated.

A missile attack on a Russian communications hub in the city of Alushta in occupied Crimea has caused "significant damage to equipment," with numerous casualties reported, the pro-Ukrainian partisan group Atesh reported on May 24.

The Crimean Wind telegram channel further reported that a large military antenna was struck in the community of Semydviria, just 3 kilometers east of Alushta. The antenna was previously used by Ukraine's military prior to Russia's occupation of Crimea in 2014.

Atesh also reported that the command center of the communications hub may have been destroyed in the attack, although no information is currently available on the status of the military facility.

Crimean Wind claimed that the communications center was hit by at least six U.S.-supplied ATACMS missiles. The projectiles allegedly struck the antenna as well as several buildings of the facility, where "high-ranking military personnel... were located at the moment."

"Explosions were heard in almost all regions of Crimea. Russian air defenses were active in many, but they were not very effective," the channel claimed.

Ukraine's Armed Forces have yet to take responsibility for the attack, nor have they provided comment.

Earlier on May 23, Sergey Aksyonov, the proxy head of Russian occupation authorities in Crimea, alleged that as a result of the missile attack on the Simferopol region, two bystanders were killed.

Aksyonov further claimed the attack had caused damage to "empty" commercial property, which was also recorded in the Alushta area.

The Kyiv Independent could not verify the claims, and no information is presently available on the extent of the casualties.

At the start of the attack, sounds of explosions were reported in Sevastopol, Yevpatoriia, and Alushta in occupied Crimea during the late hours of May 23, according to Suspilne Crimea.

At around 10:18 p.m. local time, Suspilne reported hearing explosions in Yevpatoriia. By 10:30 p.m., passenger transport had been suspended in Sevastopol. A video later surfaced online, presumably depicting an explosion in the Alushta district on the southern coast of Crimea. At least five explosions were reported in Alushta.

Within the hour, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Krym Realii announced that residents heard three explosions near the territory of the Belbek airfield in Sevastopol, as well as the work of air defense from Novofedorivka. A total of eight explosions were allegedly heard.

The Crimean Wind telegram channel reported around 0:26 a.m. that a fire had broken out at a military site in the community of Semydviria, about 4 kilometers east of Alushta.

Additional sounds of explosions were reported by residents of Sevastopol around 3 a.m., according to Crimean Wind.

Ukrainian forces have launched several attacks against Russia's Belbek military airfield in occupied Crimea in recent weeks.

The Crimean Wind Telegram channel claimed the airfield was attacked late on May 15 and that a fuel depot caught fire, while Russia's Defense Ministry claimed five U.S.-supplied ATACMS missiles were intercepted overnight by "air defense systems on duty."

Attacks against the Belbek airfield were also reported the preceding night, which allegedly resulted in fires near the military facility.

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