Russia says US-made missiles used in deadly Crimea attack

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday claimed U.S.-made missiles were used in a deadly weekend attack on Russia-annexed Crimea.

The ministry, in a statement Monday, said Washington “has effectively become a party” to Ukraine’s fight against Russia, warning that “Retaliatory measures will certainly follow,” The Associated Press reported. The statement did not elaborate.

The ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy to protest the alleged use of U.S.-supplied weapons, according to AP. Russia illegally occupied Crimea starting in 2014.

Russia’s Defense Ministry echoed this sentiment, stating both Ukraine and the U.S. bore “responsibility for a deliberate missile strike on civilians,” AP reported. It added U.S.-supplied ATACMS missiles were used in the attack, which reportedly killed four people and injured more than 150 others.

The Hill reached out to the U.S. State Department and Pentagon for comment. Russia’s claims could not be independently verified.

Western-supplied weaponry has been used by Ukrainian forces throughout Kyiv’s war with Russia, which began more than three years ago. However, the U.S. has placed restrictions on their use in Russian territory.

Some Western officials worry the use of Western weapons and ammunition in Russian-claimed areas could provoke the Kremlin and expand the war beyond Ukraine. However, Ukraine and its backers argue it must be able to attack Russia’s military in the places where it is staging attacks and offensives on Ukraine.

The attack on Crimea comes days after the Pentagon announced it was permitting Ukraine’s military to use longer-range missiles provided by the U.S. to strike targets deeper inside Russia, expanding upon President Biden’s initial loosening of restrictions last month.

The Biden administration initially partially lifted a ban on Ukraine forces using U.S. arms to strike within Russian territory. The move followed increased pressure on U.S. officials to change their position.

Western allies have previously declared Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, is a fair target for Ukraine, the AP noted.

Those killed in Sunday’s attack included two children who were hit by falling debris from Ukrainian missiles shot down near Sevastopol, a port city in Crimea, the AP reported, citing Russian officials.

The Associated Press contributed.

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