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Ukrainian missiles hit Crimea as Russia launches nuclear drills in area

A Russian Iskander missile pictures on May 21, 2024
A Russian Iskander missile pictures on May 21, 2024 Copyright Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP
Copyright Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP
By Alessio Dell'Anna with AP
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The exercise in the Southern Military District, which includes the occupied Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, involves tactical nuclear weapons which can be used on a battlefield even in proximity of allied forces.


Ukraine struck two Crimean targets late on Thursday, the Russian head of the annexed peninsula said.

Two people were killed in a missile attack near Simferopol, Crimea's main administrative centre. They also hit a building near Alushta, on Crimea's Black Sea coast.

Moscow said the facility was empty, while Ukraine's resistance group in Crimea Atesh has reported multiple casualties.

The attack comes as Russia gets underway drills in its Southern Military District, which also includes the occupied peninsula of Crimea.

The exercise involves tactical nuclear weapons, such as air bombs, warheads for short-range missiles and artillery munitions. 

Tactical nuclear weapons are less powerful than conventional strategic nuclear weapons, but they can be employed on the battlefield, even with friendly forces nearby.

Russia regularly holds exercises involving tactical nuclear weapons. However, this is reportedly the first time the Kremlin has publicly announced it.

The announcement came after French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated that he doesn’t exclude sending troops to Ukraine, and UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said Kyiv’s forces will be able to use British long-range weapons to strike targets inside Russia.

The Kremlin branded those comments as dangerous, further inflaming tensions between Russia and NATO.

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