Kremlin issues warning over ‘barbaric’ Crimea attack

US involvement in the deadly Ukrainian cluster munition strike on a crowded beach in Russia’s Sevastopol will have consequences, Dmitry Peskov has said

Moscow “understands perfectly well” who is behind Sunday’s deadly strike on the city of Sevastopol in Russia’s Crimea, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said, vowing Russian retaliation.

The Ukrainian attack carried out with US-supplied ATACMS missiles killed at least four people, among them two children, and injured more than 150, according to local officials. Four missiles were intercepted by air defenses, while a fifth deviated from its trajectory and detonated its cluster warhead over the busy Black Sea beach. As a result, the falling fragments of cluster munitions led to numerous civilian casualties, the Russian Defense Ministry stated on Sunday.

“We see … an absolutely barbaric missile attack in Crimea. We understand perfectly well who is behind this … who is aiming these absolutely technically complex missiles at the targets,” Peskov told reporters during a press briefing on Monday.

“You should ask my colleagues in Europe, and above all in Washington, ask the press secretaries there why their governments are killing Russian children. Just ask them this question,” Peskov told the journalists in attendance.

He went on to warn that “of course, the direct involvement of the United States in hostilities that result in Russian civilians being killed [will] have consequences. What exactly, time will tell,” he said, recalling remarks by President Vladimir Putin that Moscow has considered similarly arming the adversaries of Western nations as a response to the supplying of weapons to Ukraine.

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Pentagon has ‘nothing to say’ about strike on Crimean beach with US-supplied weapons

Moscow has placed the blame for Sunday’s attack primarily with Washington, accusing it of enabling the “premeditated terrorist missile attack.” The targets for these US-provided missiles are assigned to Ukrainian troops by American specialists, based on their own intelligence data, the Defense Ministry stated.

Kiev deliberately chooses mass gatherings of people as targets, both out of hatred and to sow panic, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said following the attack. Pentecost Sunday was picked deliberately, she claimed.

The US announced in July 2023 that it would provide Ukraine with cluster munitions, sparking outrage in Moscow. At the time, US President Joe Biden called the decision “very difficult” but justified, arguing that the deliveries were needed to fuel a Ukrainian counteroffensive that subsequently failed with heavy losses for Kiev.

Ukraine has previously targeted the Crimean peninsula with US-provided ATACMS missiles. In May, ten ATACMS on a trajectory toward the strategic Crimean Bridge were shot down, according to Russian Defense Minister Andrey Belousov.

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