Special forces landed on the western shore of Crimea, near the settlements of Olenivka and Mayak, in a joint operation with the country’s Navy, according to Ukrainian Defense Intelligence.
“While performing the task, Ukrainian defenders clashed with the occupier’s units. As a result, the enemy suffered losses among its personnel and destroyed enemy equipment,” the intelligence agency said.
While they were there, the Ukrainian unit also raised the national flag, it added.
Russian-appointed authorities in Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula which has been illegally occupied by Moscow’s forces since 2014, have not responded to the claims.
The area contains extensive air defenses and missile sites, including advanced systems. The Ukrainians said Wednesday they had destroyed an S-400 missile defense battery in the area.
Mayak is said to be home to a Russian radio engineering regiment and sophisticated radar systems.
Unofficial Russian social media accounts have spoken of firing near a campsite at Cape Tarkhankut – the westernmost point in Crimea – before dawn on Thursday. One channel said the first shooting broke out shortly before 4 a.m.
“When people woke up and came out of the houses and tents to the beach, they saw two rubber boats not far from the shore. There were 10 unidentified men in them. One of them fired at the camping site,” according to the Telegram channel SHOT.
A prominent Russian military blog, Wargonzo, reported that “According to some sources, a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group landed in the area of Cape Tarkhankut, shelled the camping on the seashore and fled in the direction of Odesa.”
A Telegram channel associated with a military unit of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic also reported the clashes.
The 105th Regiment of the DPR militia said four light-engine boats with Ukrainian saboteurs were destroyed near Cape Tarkhankut. “Russian security forces liquidated the sabotage and reconnaissance in the sea at about four in the morning. According to preliminary data, about 15-20 people were liquidated,” it claimed.
Ukrainian Defense Intelligence released several videos purporting to show Ukrainian inflatables close to the Crimean coast in the darkness.
Video has also emerged of Ukrainian inflatable boats firing an anti-aircraft missile at a Russian jet. The Russian Defense Ministry released cockpit video showing a jet fighter using cannon fire against the boats.