(EurActiv) — Ukraine’s navy and military intelligence carried out a “special operation” overnight in which units landed on Russian-occupied Crimea, the defence ministry’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) said on Thursday (24 August).
The operation, which could not be independently confirmed, would amount to a rare demonstration that Ukrainian forces are able to stage ground operations in Crimea, which Russia seized and annexed in 2014.
Brief and dark video footage posted alongside the statement showed a small motorboat moving through water at night near a coastline. HUR said the landing point was on the western tip of Crimea, near the settlements of Olenivka and Mayak.
“Special units on watercraft landed on the shore in the area of the Olenivka and Mayak settlements,” HUR said in a statement.
It said “all goals” had been achieved and casualties inflicted on the enemy, but did not identify the goals.
“Also, the state flag flew again in Ukrainian Crimea,” it said, without saying where exactly or providing further details.
Russia did not comment on the report, which coincided with Ukraine’s Independence Day.
At least one person was killed and 16 people were wounded in Russian attacks across Ukraine on Thursday, local officials said, as Kyiv marked 32 years of independence from Moscow.
The cities of Kherson and Dnipro, and the frontline town of Kurakhove, were hit by attacks which wounded civilians, and a farmer was killed by shelling in southern Ukraine, the officials said.
A Russian missile strike on a bus terminal in Dnipro wounded 10 people, regional governor Serhiy Lysak said.
Rows of shops near the station were rocked by the blast, which destroyed some of them and left others full of broken glass and ruined goods.
One woman rushed to the scene, pleading with authorities to let her see the damage to her shop selling electronics.
“When we finally got inside… we saw that everything was completely destroyed,” the woman, who gave her name only as Tetiana, told Reuters.
Another shop owner, Serhiy, expressed rage with Russia.
“I think they’re animals. There are lots of people here (at the bus terminal), people arrive and leave the city. How can you fire on a civilian target?” he said.
More than 10 other buildings including a bank, hotel and administrative building were damaged, Lysak said.
In the southern region of Kherson, three people were wounded in addition to the farmer who was killed, officials said.
Regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said the farmer was killed by shelling while working in a field near the village of Shyroka Balka.
A seven-year-old girl was injured by Russian shelling of the centre of the city of Kherson, Prokudin also said.
Ukraine’s general prosecutor’s office said two other people were wounded when one of the shells hit a roof of a private house, and posted a photo online showing a partially destroyed building with a gaping hole in one side.
Three local residents were wounded in a separate attack on a supermarket in the town of Kurakhove in the eastern Donetsk region, the prosecutor’s office said.
The reports could not be independently verified.
Russia has regularly carried out strikes on Ukrainian centres far from the front line though it denies deliberately targeting civilians.
Thursday was a national holiday commemorating post-Soviet independence. The anniversary fell exactly 18 months after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of its neighbour.