Ukrainian Storm Shadow cruise missiles destroyed the Belbek airbase in the occupied Crimea

The Ukrainian military claimed on Wednesday to have struck a military air base in Russian-occupied Crimea, while Moscow said it had failed to thwart the attack, but the missile had hit a military installation.

On the same day, Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine commander, confirmed the explosions at Belbek Airport.

In a post on Telegram, Ukraine’s Air Force commander Mykola Oleshchuk thanked the military for conducting the operation, hitting Belbek airfield on the southwestern tip of the Crimea Peninsula near Russia’s main naval base at Sevastopol.

“Ukrainian aviators will definitely return to their home airfield,” he said, posting a video from social media of the purported strike.

According to the Russian Defence Ministry, Moscow thwarted an attack on Crimea and shot down 20 Ukrainian missiles – 17 over the Black Sea and three more over the peninsula.

The ministry said fragments of Ukrainian missiles fell on the territory of a military unit in Lyubimovka, which is near the Belbek military air base. The incident caused no damage to “aviation equipment”, it said.

According to analysts, the enemy’s claims indicate that their air defense systems worked “successfully” during the attack. However, there are nuances to consider. Preliminary information suggests that the enemy’s command post was hit. Casualties among personnel will become known over time and with the first obituaries appearing on the enemy’s social media.

It is worth noting that on Wednesday, January 31st, explosions were reported in the occupied city of Sevastopol and the areas of Sak, Yevpatoriya, Feodosiya, and Rozdolne. At least five explosions were heard in Sevastopol. The Russian authorities declared an air alarm and closed traffic on the Kerch Bridge.

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