Ukraine military chief claims responsibility for strikes in Crimea

KYIV (Reuters) -Ukraine's top military chief claimed responsibility on Wednesday for a series of strikes on Russian air bases on the annexed peninsula of Crimea, including one that caused devastation at the Saky military facility last month.

In an article co-authored by lawmaker Mykhailo Zabrodskyi and published on state news agency Ukrinform, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the Ukrainian army's commander in chief, said the strikes had been carried out by missiles or rockets, without elaborating.

Ukraine has until now only hinted at its involvement in the Crimea strikes, with one senior official anonymously telling Reuters that the air base explosions were the work of Ukrainian saboteurs on the ground.

Writing about Ukraine's response to what the op-ed said was Moscow's strategy of "distancing" the war from Russian citizens, Zaluzhnyi and Zaborodskyi wrote of "the successful efforts of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to physically transfer hostilities to... Crimea."

We are talking about a series of successful rocket strikes against the enemy's Crimean air bases, first of all, the Saky airfield," the article said. A footnote clarified that the Saky attack was a "combined strike" that took place on Aug. 9 and took ten Russian warplanes "out of action."

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Max Hunder; writing by Max Hunder and Tom Balmforth; editing by Alex Richardson and Tomasz Janowski)