Ukraine’s armed forces reported that they targeted a shipyard in Russian-occupied Crimea with 15 cruise missiles on Saturday.
Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed its air defense systems destroyed 13 of the Ukrainian missiles.
The Russian-installed governor of Crimea said downed missile fragments landed on the dry dock in Kerch and added that there were no casualties.
However, Russian media reported that one of the newest ships in the country’s naval fleet, the Askold, was damaged in the incident.
Mykola Oleshchuk, commander of Ukraine’s air force, said he hoped “another ship has followed the Moskva,” referring to the Russian Black Sea Fleet vessel that was sunk by Ukrainian missiles last year.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it was “Russia’s goal” for the war between Israel and Islamist militant group Hamas to draw attention away from Ukraine.
“Of course, it’s clear that the war in the Middle East, this conflict, is taking away the focus,” he said during a joint press conference with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen in Kyiv.
“We have already been in very difficult situations when there was almost no focus on Ukraine,” he added. “I am absolutely sure we will overcome this challenge.”
Ukraine is aiming to become a weapons manufacturing hub for Western nations, according to the new Minister for Strategic Industries Oleksandr Kamyshin.
Kamysyhin gained a reputation as head national railway company Ukrzaliznytsia for ensuring that trains continued to run on time despite the war. He was appointed to his new role eight months ago.
“We’re really focusing on making Ukraine the arsenal of the free world,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press.
Ukraine barely had a domestic arms industry before 2022, but it now counts around 500 private and state-owned companies that produce or develop equipment for the battlefield.
“We are focused on producing all types of weapons and ammunition, and we show that we can test it on the battlefield and make it better during the war,” Kamyshin said.
“That’s something we can contribute to the free world, because as you see, defense industry is becoming more and more important globally.”