Ukrainian strike on Crimea airbase destroys three Russian warplanes, satellite firm says

KYIV (Reuters) - A long-range Ukrainian strike on the Moscow-controlled Belbek airbase in occupied Crimea destroyed three Russian warplanes and a fuel facility near its main runway this week, U.S. commercial satellite company Maxar said.

The company cited satellite imagery taken on Thursday as showing that two MiG-31 fighter jets and an Su-27 fighter jet had been destroyed. It said one MiG-29 fighter aircraft also appeared to have been damaged.

Ukraine has not publicly claimed responsibility for striking the airbase.

The Russian defence ministry said on Thursday that Ukraine had staged an overnight attack on Crimea and that its air defence forces had intercepted five long-range missiles known as ATACMS.

On Wednesday, it said Russia had intercepted 10 long-range ATACMS also launched at Crimea. It did not report any damage to military facilities in either attack.

Ukraine has increasingly resorted to using long-range drones and missiles to strike strategic targets far behind the front line, including in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula which Russian troops seized and annexed in 2014.

(Reporting by Anastasiia Malenko; editing by Tom Balmforth and Nick Macfie)