'Crimea Is Ukraine!': U.S. Hits Back At Russian Accusations Of Involvement In Sevastopol Attack

The United States on Monday strongly rejected the Kremlin's claims that it was to blame for a deadly attack on Crimea over the weekend, by pointing the finger back at Moscow for starting the war, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.

"Russia could stop this war today and end the suffering caused by the war Russia launched today if it would stop its occupation of sovereign Ukrainian territory and stop launching attacks on civilians," the State Department's Spokesperson Matthew Miller told a daily briefing when responding to TURAN's questions.

"We lament any civilian loss of life in this war.  We provide weapons to Ukraine so it can defend its sovereign territory against armed aggression. That includes in Crimea, which of course is part of Ukraine" Miller added.

Russian officials said earlier on Monday that four people died and around 150 more were injured in the attack as missile debris fell on a beach in Sevastopol in occupied Crimea. The Russian Defence Ministry claimed the missiles used by Ukraine were American-supplied ATACMS. 

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov went even further saying that the "direct involvement of the United States, as a result of which Russian civilians are killed, cannot be without consequences". Moscow officials also tried to blame Ukraine for the Dagestan attack.

Miller told TURAN's correspondent that Russia's claims were unfounded and wrong."I don't have any assessment of the underlying attack, including who was responsible for it. But you have seen Russia make ridiculous claims about responsibility in the past," he said.

"You might recall after the terror attack in Moscow in March, they blamed the US despite the US warning them about the attack," Miller went on to add.  "It's not unusual for Moscow to make ridiculous, hyperbolic claims about responsibility that aren't born out of facts."

Ukraine has in recently stepped up attacks against Russian forces in Crimea, which Moscow seized and illegally annexed in 2014 and installed a local government, although the territory is still officially part of Ukraine.

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