Bomb shelters built on Crimean beaches after deadly missile strike

SEVASTOPOL, Crimea (Reuters) - Tourists thronging the Black Sea beaches of the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula this summer share the space with a grim new arrival: bomb shelters and sandbags.

For more than two years, the beaches of the peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014, have been only one step removed from the raging battles of the war in Ukraine.

Last month, fragments from Ukrainian missiles killed four people, including two children, on a beach in the city of Sevastopol, injuring 151 more. Footage on Russian state television showed some victims being carried off on sun loungers.

Thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed since the start of the more than two-year-old war, and a much smaller number of civilians inside Russia or in parts of Ukraine, such as Crimea, that Russia claims to have annexed.

At the beach in Uchuyevka, on the outskirts of Sevastopol, bathers now share a pebbled shoreline with a concrete bomb shelter, reinforced with sandbags - a reminder of the unwelcome ways in which the war that Moscow calls a "special military operation" has encroached on the lives of ordinary people.

Irina, a tourist from the close Russian ally of Belarus, said: "In my opinion (the bomb shelters) are necessary."

"We are visiting friends here and we were told that it is very scary here, but here there are shelters and all safety measures are observed, I think it is very important."

Sevastopol's Russian-installed governor Mikhail Razvozhaev said last Friday that additional defence measures were necessary and accused Ukrainian authorities of being unhinged.

Ukraine has carried out multiple air and naval strikes on Russian military targets in Crimea. But legions of Russian tourists continue to visit each year for their annual holiday.

A Russian tourist, Alexander Zhukovskiy, said: "Probably, it will be calmer to be on the beach, to rest when you are sure that at any moment you can get under protection. So yes, they are needed."

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Keith Weir)