Ukraine Strikes Again in Crimea, Challenging Russian Hold on Peninsula

ODESA, Ukraine — Russian warships patrol Crimea’s coasts and Russian warplanes fly from its territory, transformed by eight years of occupation into a fortress. President Vladimir V. Putin has called Crimea a “sacred place,” Russia’s “holy land,” and one of his top advisers has warned that if the peninsula were attacked, Ukraine would face “Judgment Day.”

But lately, Ukraine has been calling the Kremlin’s bluff. Huge explosions rocked a temporary Russian ammunition depot in Crimea on Tuesday, in the latest in a series of clandestine Ukrainian assaults against the Black Sea peninsula that Mr. Putin illegally annexed in 2014, and that is now being used as a vital staging ground for Russia’s invasion.

A senior Ukrainian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the operation, said that an elite Ukrainian military unit operating behind enemy lines was responsible for the blasts. Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that the episode was…

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This article was written by Michael Schwirtz and Anton Troianovski and originally published on www.nytimes.com