Ukraine has threatened attacks on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and the Russian Black Sea Fleet stationed there. “We are getting anti-ship weapons and will sooner or later attack the fleet,” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Volodymyr Havrylov told the British Times on Tuesday during a visit to London. “Russia has to leave Crimea if it wants to continue to exist as a state,” said the 64-year-old.

Russia justified its war against Ukraine, which began on February 24, with alleged plans by Kiev to want to take back Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Havrylov’s comments once again confirmed the need for the “military special operation.” This is how Moscow officially describes the war against Ukraine.

“Only with such means can Ukraine be rid of such representatives of the leadership,” Peskov said, according to the Russian state news agency TASS. Moscow has repeatedly warned Kyiv against a sharp reaction should Crimea be attacked.

On the other hand, Kiev’s Deputy Defense Minister Havrylov said that Snake Island had recently been recaptured and that the first step had been taken. Ukraine relies on heavy weapons from the West for counterattacks.

“We are ready to target them across the Black Sea if we have that opportunity,” he said. “Crimea is Ukrainian territory, so any target there is legitimate for us.”