Ukraine Targets Crimean City 09/23 07:41
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine on Saturday morning launched another missile
attack on Sevastopol in occupied Crimea, a Russian-installed official said, a
day after an attack on the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet left a
serviceman missing and the main building smoldering.
Sevastopol was put on air raid alert for about an hour after debris from
intercepted missiles fell near a pier, Gov. Mikhail Razvozhayev wrote on the
messaging app Telegram. Ferry traffic in the area was also halted and later
Loud blasts were also heard near Vilne in northern Crimea, followed by
rising clouds of smoke, according to a pro-Ukrainian Telegram news channel that
reports on developments on the peninsula. Crimea, illegally annexed by Russia
in 2014, has been a frequent target for Ukrainian forces since Russian
President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of the neighboring
country almost 19 months ago.
Ukraine's intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, told Voice of America on
Saturday that at least nine people were killed and 16 injured as a result of
Kyiv's attack on the Black Sea Fleet on Friday. He claimed that Alexander
Romanchuk, a Russian general commanding forces along the key southeastern front
line, was "in a very serious condition" following the attack.
Budanov's claim could not be independently verified, and he did not comment
on whether Western-made missiles were used in Friday's strike.
The Russian Defense Ministry initially said that Friday's strike killed one
service member at the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, but later issued a
statement that he was missing.
Ukraine's military also offered more details about Friday's attack on
Sevastopol. It said the air force conducted 12 strikes on the Black Sea Fleet
headquarters, targeting areas where personnel, military equipment and weapons
were concentrated. It said two anti-aircraft missile systems and four Russian
artillery units were hit.
Crimea has served as the key hub supporting Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
Sevastopol, the main base of Russia's Black Sea Fleet since the 19th century,
has had a particular importance for navy operations since the start of the
invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine has increasingly targeted naval facilities in Crimea in recent weeks
while the brunt of its summer counteroffensive makes slow gains in the east and
south of Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War said. Military experts say
it is essential for Ukraine to keep up its attacks on targets in Crimea to
degrade Russian morale and weaken its military.
Elsewhere, Ukraine's military said Saturday that Russia launched 15
Iranian-made Shahed drones at the front-line Zaporizhzhia region in the
southeast, as well as Dnipropetrovsk province farther north. It claimed to have
destroyed 14 of the drones.
Separately, Zaporizhzhia regional Gov. Yuri Malashko said that Russia over
the previous day carried out 86 strikes on 27 settlements in the province, many
of them lying only a few kilometers (miles) from the fighting. Malashko said
that an 82-year- old civilian was killed by artillery fire.
In the neighboring Kherson region, Gov. Oleksandr Prokudin said at least one
person died and three were injured over the past day because of Russian
shelling. Russia fired 25 shells targeting the city of Kherson, which lies
along the Dneiper River that marks the contact line between the warring sides,
Residential quarters were hit, including medical and education institutions,
government-built stations that serve food and drinks, as well as critical
infrastructure facilities and a penitentiary, he said.