Russia blames US for deadly Crimea beach strike

Sunbathers run from falling missile debris on Sevastopol beach
Sunbathers run from falling missile debris on a Sevastopol beach - X

Russia has said that the US bears “primary responsibility” for what it claimed was a deliberate Ukrainian missile strike against civilians in the Russian-occupied city of Sevastopol.

Six people were killed - including two children - in the incident, as Russian air defences attempted to intercept long-range US-made Atacms missiles, Russian officials and Moscow’s ministry of defence said.

The Russian defence ministry said that the missiles hit by its air defence systems were armed with cluster munition warheads. Ukrainian officials have not commented.

Footage posted on social media showed missile fragments hitting beach areas in the north of the city, spraying sunbathing tourists with shrapnel.

There is no evidence Ukraine deliberately targeted the beach, which lies about ten minutes from a military airfield. However, daytime missile strikes by Ukraine are rare.

The Russian defence ministry said: “All flight missions for American ATACMS operational-tactical missiles are entered by American specialists based on their own US satellite intelligence data.

“Therefore, responsibility for the deliberate missile strike on civilians in Sevastopol lies primarily with Washington, which supplied these weapons to Ukraine, as well as the Kiev regime, from whose territory this strike was launched.

“Such actions will not go unanswered.”

The US has previously said that Ukraine can only use long-range missiles to strike targets deeper inside Russia if it is acting in self-defence.

Russian media said that the Uchkuyevka and Lyubimovka beaches were hit during the incident. The two seafronts are roughly five miles from a major Russian air base.


06:13 PM BST

Today’s live coverage has ended.

Today’s live coverage has ended. Here’s a roundup of the day’s events:

  • Russia blamed the US for a deadly Ukrainian strike on a Crimean beach, where it says six civilians were killed by falling debris when Russian air defences shot down US-supplied Atacms missiles.

  • A Russian strike on the city of Kharkiv killed one and injured 11, the region’s governor said.

  • 91 combat engagements were recorded across the front line, the Ukrainian general staff said.

  • Russia said off-road motorbikes were helping capture Ukrainian positions.

  • Moscow threatened to change its nuclear weapons doctrine in response to heightened threats against Russia.


05:42 PM BST

Russia ‘concentrating assaults on Pokrovsk’

Russian troops have concentrated their assaults on Pokrovsk, Ukraine’s military said, adding that Moscow’s forces attacked Ukrainian positions in the area 31 times on Sunday morning.

In a later statement released on Sunday afternoon, the military said nine firefights were still ongoing in the villages of Novooleksandrivka, Sokil, Vozdvyzhenka and Yevhenivka, and that 12 Russian soldiers had been taken prisoner.

The military also said that Ukrainian soldiers destroyed three Russian tanks in the area, and damaged a further three.

In total, Sunday saw 91 combat engagements across the entire front line, Ukraine’s general staff said.


05:07 PM BST

Ukraine orders rolling blackouts amid increased Russian strikes

Rolling electricity blackouts will be imposed across Ukraine on Monday due to increased Russian attacks on the energy grid, the electricity operator Ukrenergo said on Sunday.

Severe power outages will start from midnight Sunday and last until midnight Monday, Ukrenergo said, with widespread blackouts from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.


05:00 PM BST

Estonian volunteer killed fighting for Ukraine

An Estonian volunteer in the Ukrainian military was killed fighting Russian forces on Sunday, Ukrainian media has reported.

Martin Jääger, 42, was killed in the village of Raihorodka on the border between the Kharkiv and Luhansk regions. He was the third Estonian national to be killed fighting for Ukraine since the Russian invasion in 2022.

Jääger had been fighting in Ukraine for over a year and served in multiple units before joining the 3rd Assault Brigade a month ago.

He previously served in the Estonian army and completed a tour of Afghanistan in 2013.


04:42 PM BST

Pictured: The aftermath of Russia’s strike on Kharkiv

Policemen stand near a covered dead body next to a house destroyed as a result of Russian aerial bombing on June 23
Policemen stand next to a covered dead body near a house destroyed by Russian aerial bombing on June 23 - Global Images Ukraine

04:17 PM BST

Watch: Zelensky shares footage of Kharkiv strike aftermath

Volodymyr Zelensky has shared footage of Sunday’s Russian strike on Kharkiv, which Ukrainian officials say killed one person and injured 10 others (see our post at 3:10pm).

The Ukrainian president thanked rescue workers and urged for “sufficient determination” from Kyiv’s allies in order to prevent further Russian attacks.


03:10 PM BST

Russian strikes on Kharkiv ‘kill 1, injure 10’

One person was killed and ten others were wounded by Russian strikes on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, the regional governor said.

“The occupiers have conducted strikes on the civilian infrastructure of Kharkiv,” Oleh Synehubov wrote on Telegram, adding that the strikes appeared to have been conducted with glide bombs.

Two of the wounded victims were in a “severe condition”, the governor said.


03:00 PM BST

Sevastopol governor declares day of mourning

Mikhail Razvozhayev, the governor of Sevastopol, has declared June 24 a day of mourning after civilians were reportedly killed when Russian air defence intercepted Ukrainian Atacms missiles over the city.

“In Sevastopol, all cultural, sports and other mass events will be cancelled. Television and radio will not play entertainment programs. Flags will be lowered on the buildings of state and municipal institutions,” Mr Razvozhayev said.


02:50 PM BST

Russian defence ministry says US responsible for Sevastopol attack

The Russian defence ministry has said that the US bears primary responsibility for the missile strike on Sevastopol.

The ministry said: “All flight missions for American ATACMS operational-tactical missiles are entered by American specialists based on their own US satellite intelligence data.

“Therefore, responsibility for the deliberate missile strike on civilians in Sevastopol lies primarily with Washington, which supplied these weapons to Ukraine, as well as the Kiev regime, from whose territory this strike was launched.

“Such actions will not go unanswered.”

The US has previously said that Ukraine can only use long-range missiles to strike targets deeper inside Russia if it is acting in self-defence.


02:26 PM BST

Eyewitness from the Atacms explosion over Sevastopol

Irina Frolova was swimming in the pool of a nearby hotel when she heard the explosion of the Russian air defence system shooting down the Ukrainian missile.

She said that she rushed her children to their hotel room and then ran down to the beach.

“I went to the beach because I’m a doctor,” she told the Izvestia newspaper.

“There were a lot of wounded people there and by that time I arrived they had already been taken off the beach to the parking lot. I had eight wounded people.”


01:22 PM BST

Russia says three killed, nearly 100 wounded, in Ukrainian Crimea attack

Russia has now said three people — including two children — were killed and nearly 100 wounded in a Ukrainian missile strike on Sevastopol in Crimea (see our post at 12:08pm).

The Russian defence ministry said the attack was carried out with US-supplied ATACMS missiles. Four of the five missiles were shot down, while the fifth detonated in mid-air, the ministry said.

Most of the injuries were caused by falling shrapnel, the Sevastopol governor said.

Footage circulating on social media purporting to be of the attack shows beach-goers running while a series of loud explosions are heard.


12:56 PM BST

Pictured: Ukrainian rescue teams work at site of Russian strike near Kyiv

Ukrainian rescuers working at the site of a rocket attack on a village near Kyiv, Ukraine, 23 June
Ukrainian rescuers working at the site of a rocket attack on a village near Kyiv, Ukraine, 23 June - State Emergency Service/Shutterstock

12:48 PM BST

Russia says ‘Mad Max’ motorbike attacks help capture Ukrainian strongholds

Russia’s defence ministry has claimed that off-road motorcycles have helped seize Ukrainian positions on the eastern front where a string of towns and villages have recently fallen.

According to a Russian officer, five Russian soldiers were able to capture a single strongpoint near the town of Vuhledar using the vehicles.

“Because we did everything suddenly, they were taken aback, and we captured two of them immediately, while the rest ran away,” he claimed.

Russia’s use of motorbikes on the battlefield have recently drawn mockery and comparisons with the Mad Max films, as some have been fitted with ad-hoc metal cages to defend against drone attacks.

Ukraine has claimed multiple successes fighting against Moscow’s motorbike infantry. In one case in May, the 79th Air Assault Brigade said that it destroyed eight motorbikes during a single battle.


12:22 PM BST

Pictured: Ukrainian artillery in action

Ukrainian artilleryman of the 92nd Ivan Sirko Separate Assault Brigade fires a 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer towards Russian troops in the Kharkiv region
Ukrainian artilleryman of the 92nd Ivan Sirko Separate Assault Brigade fires a 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer towards Russian troops in the Kharkiv region - Inna Varenytsia/REUTERS

12:08 PM BST

Ukrainian missile attack on Crimea kills 2, including child, says governor

Two people, including a two-year-old child, were killed in a Ukrainian missile attack on Sevastopol in Crimea, the Russian-installed governor said on Sunday.

“According to provisional information, today’s attack by Ukraine’s armed forces on Sevastopol killed 2 peaceful residents, one of them a 2-year-old child,” Mikhail Razvozhayev wrote on Telegram.

He also said that 22 people suffered shrapnel wounds of varying severity.


11:08 AM BST

Ukraine hits Russian military command post in Belgorod, military says

Ukraine has said that it hit the command post of a Russian motorized rifle regiment in a cross-border strike early on Sunday.

According to the Ukrainian general staff, the strike was carried out by Ukraine’s air force in cooperation with other military branches and hit the village of Nekhoteyevka in the Belgorod region.

“As a result of combat work, explosions were recorded. The target was successfully hit,” the military said.

Nekhoteyevka is less than one mile from the Ukrainian border and around 19 miles from the city of Belgorod.


10:44 AM BST

Russia attacks 10 settlements in Sumy, Ukraine says

Russian forces attacked 10 settlements in Ukraine’s Sumy Oblast on Saturday, the region’s military administration said.

Drones, mortars, artillery and explosives were used in 30 separate attacks across the area, Ukrainian media reported.

No casualties or damages to civilian infrastructure were recorded.

The Sumy region is located next to the Russian border and has come under increased attacks since Russia launched an offensive in the area in June.


10:34 AM BST

Pictured: Russian motorbike troops practice assaulting Ukrainian trench

A Russian MoD videograb showing assault troops breaking into mock-up Ukrainian trenches
A Russian MoD videograb showing assault troops breaking into mock-up Ukrainian trenches - Russian defence ministry

10:28 AM BST

Russia threatens to change nuclear doctrine

Moscow may revise its nuclear doctrine if threats against Russia increase, a Russian politician and former general has said.

“If we see that the challenges and threats increase, it means that we can correct something in (the doctrine) regarding the timing of the use of nuclear weapons and the decision to make this use,” Andrei Kartapolov said.

Mr Kartapolov, who is the head of the Russian lower house’s defence committee, stressed, however, that it is premature to discuss specific changes.

The comments came days after Vladimir Putin warned that Russia was considering making changes to its nuclear doctrine.


10:17 AM BST

Russian missile attack on Kyiv injures two

A Russian overnight missile strike on Kyiv injured two people and damaged several buildings, the head of the region’s state administration said on Sunday.

Ukraine’s air force said it shot down two of three missiles fired towards Kyiv by Russia.

Falling debris injured two people who did not require hospitalisation, Ruslan Kravchenko, head of the Kyiv region’s administration, said.

The debris also damaged six multi-storey residential buildings and more than 20 private houses, Kravchenko added.

In addition, a petrol station, a chemist, an administrative building and three cars were also damaged.

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