Ukraine attacked the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet

A Ukrainian attack targeting the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea damaged two ships and caused a major fire at a sprawling naval shipyard that plays a key role in the Russian war effort, according to Russian and Ukrainian officials.

Wednesday’s pre-dawn attack on the occupied port city of Sevastopol, home to Russian naval headquarters, appeared to be the biggest since Moscow launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine nearly 19 months ago and underscored Ukraine’s growing ability to strike deep-Russian targets. held territory.

Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement Ukraine fired 10 cruise missiles at the facility while targeting a Russian warship in the Black Sea with three maritime drones. The air defense systems shot down seven cruise missiles and the patrol vessel Vasili Bykov destroyed the unmanned drones, the ministry said.

Moscow’s rare recognition of the successful Ukrainian offensive in Crimea came only after locals posted pictures on social media of explosions and raging fires at the Sevmorzavod shipyard. Then the pro-Russian governor of Crimea, Mikhail Rasvosev He shared the photo It shows the port side of a large landing craft on fire, although the full extent of the damage is unclear.

At least 24 people were injured at the shipyard, Mr. Rasvosev said. Initial explosions and air defense sounds were first reported at 2am local time.

It is not clear what weapons Ukraine used in the attack, but the commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, Lt. Gen. Mykola Oleshchuk, suggested a long-range airstrike was involved.

“I would like to thank the pilots of the Ukrainian Air Force for their excellent combat work while the aggressors are still recovering from the night bombing in Sevastopol,” he said. wrote in a statement. “To be continued…”

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Michael Podoliak, Senior Presidential Advisor. hint That the attack was carried out using new weapons. He said in a statement that building the capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces “including expanding the range of weapons” is the only way to secure trade routes and grain exports through the Black Sea.

“We can already see its results” in Sevastopol, he wrote.

He did not elaborate on what weapons were used. This summer, Ukraine received long-range weapons from the British and French, and Kyiv is developing its own domestically produced long-range cruise missiles.

The attack damaged the upgraded Kilo-class attack submarine Rostov-on-Don and the Robucha-class landing craft Minsk, according to Russian military bloggers and Russian news agency BASAIt does not cite sources.

These reports have not been independently confirmed, but two ships in dry dock were damaged in the attacks by Russian officials. A satellite image taken by Planet Labs on Tuesday shows the Robucha-class ship and an apparent submarine in dry dock. Images from Planet Labs after the attack showed the ship and the dry dock charred, although the determination was difficult to make out the submarine.

The attack on the Russian navy comes days after Ukraine said it had recovered several oil and gas drilling platforms in the Black Sea, a move that has played a role in Russia’s ability to project power off Ukraine’s coast since Moscow seized them in 2015.

Russian forces used the so-called Boyko Towers as forward deployment sites, installing radar installations, long-range missile systems and other equipment. Dmytro Pletenchuk, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Navy, said the expulsion of Russian forces from the bases “allows them to be without relevant information and not be able to react immediately or plan anything inside our sea.”

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At the same time as the Russian port came under attack, the Ukrainian military said it shot down 32 of 44 Iranian attack drones targeting port and grain infrastructure in the Odesa region.

Ole Kiper, head of the Odessa military administration, said the Danube River ports on the border with Romania were targeted once again and seven civilians were wounded.

“We are dealing with the aftermath,” he said in a statement. Firefighters are working to extinguish the fire.

Christian Tribert Contributed report.

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