Ukraine on Thursday said it flew its flag in Russian-annexed Crimea, in a symbolic win during a "special operation" to mark its second wartime Independence Day.

According to Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR), a battle took place on the peninsula in the early morning after troops landed overnight on Crimea's western shore near the towns of Olenivka and Mayak and "engaged in combat."

"As a result, the enemy suffered losses among personnel, enemy equipment was destroyed," HUR said in a statement, adding that the "state flag flew again in the Ukrainian Crimea."

 

In a comment to the Hromadske media outlet, HUR spokesman Andrii Yusov confirmed that the Ukrainian military made a landing as part of a special operation.

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“All tasks have been completed,” Yusov said.

Yusov did not specify what exactly the tasks were. He only added that “there are losses among the enemy personnel and equipment,” and the Ukrainian side did not suffer any losses.

Media outlet Krym.Realii reported that around 5 a.m., explosions were heard near the Mayak settlement on Cape Tarkhankut. Meanwhile, Russian propaganda Telegram channels claimed that in Crimea, unknown people in rubber outboard boats allegedly fired from the shore at a camping site with tourists in Olenivka.

In a commentary by the RBC-Ukraine media, Yusov said that the Ukrainian military had already returned after the special operation, having completed the tasks and that the operation itself “had the character of a raid.”

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Less than 24 hours earlier, a series of explosions, also on Cape Tarkhankut, were reported on several Ukrainian Telegram channels claiming that a critical Russian air defense system in occupied Crimea had been destroyed.

The overnight operation was announced on the occasion of Independence Day as the war with Russia entered its 19th month.

"We honoured the memory of the fallen defenders of our country," President Zelensky wrote in a Telegram message after visiting Saint Sophia's Cathedral in Kyiv with his wife.

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He urged Ukrainians not to "lose faith in these difficult times" as the country makes efforts for "victory over Russian evil."

Freedom, he added, is a "value for each of us, and we are fighting for it."

On Kreshchatyk Street in the heart of the capital Kyiv, people took selfies next to charred and wrecked Russian tanks and armoured vehicles captured from the battlefield.

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