KYIV: A major fire erupted Saturday at a Crimean oil depot after it was bombed by two Ukrainian drones, according to a Russia-appointed official there, the latest in a series of attacks on the occupied peninsula as Russia braces for an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Moscow-installed governor of Crimea’s Sevastopol, released footage and photographs of the fire on his Telegram channel.
According to Razvozhayev, the fire at the city’s harbor has been granted the highest grade in terms of how difficult it will be to extinguish. He did, however, note that the open fire had been put out.
According to Razvozhayev, the oil store was targeted by “two enemy drones,” and four oil tanks were destroyed. According to Crimea’s Moscow-appointed governor, Sergei Aksyonov, a third drone was shot down from the sky over Crimea, while another was deactivated via radio-electronic methods.
Russia took Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a move that was widely condemned around the world. In an interview this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that his country will endeavor to retake the peninsula in the upcoming counteroffensive.
According to the governor of Sevastopol, the fire in the city’s harbor has been granted the highest grade in terms of how difficult it will be to extinguish. He did, however, note that the open fire had been put out.
The tragedy occurs just one day after Russia launched over 20 cruise missiles and two drones into Ukraine, killing at least 23 people. Almost all of the victims were killed when two rockets slammed into an apartment building in Uman, Ukraine’s central city.
Five children were among the dead, according to Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko, who added that 22 of the 23 bodies had been identified. According to Klymenko, one woman is still missing.
Overnight, Russian military launched more drones into Ukraine. On Saturday morning, two Iranian-made self-exploding Shahed drones were intercepted, and a surveillance drone was shot down, according to Ukraine’s Air Force Command.
According to Razvozhayev, the oil store fire caused no casualties and would not disrupt gasoline supplies in Sevastopol. Drone attacks on the city have become increasingly common, particularly in recent weeks.
Earlier this week, Razvozhayev stated that the Russian military shot down a Ukrainian marine drone that attempted to strike the harbor, and that another one exploded, smashing glass in many apartment complexes but causing no additional damage.
Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s military intelligence, told the RBC Ukraine news site on Saturday that the oil storage fire was “God’s punishment” for “the murdered civilians in Uman, including five children.”
He stated that more than ten tanks storing oil supplies for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet were damaged in Sevastopol, but he did not blame Ukraine for a drone strike. The disparity in the number of tanks given by Yusov and Razvozhayev could not be reconciled immediately.
Following previous attacks on Crimea, Kiev refused to openly claim responsibility, instead emphasizing that the country had the right to strike any target in response to Russian aggression.
According to Moscow-installed authorities in the Russian-occupied section of southern Ukraine’s Kherson province, Ukrainian soldiers shelled the city of Nova Kakhovka. According to officials, “severe artillery fire” knocked off power in the city.
On Saturday, the Ukrainian-controlled portion of the region was also targeted. According to the Kherson prosecutor’s office, Russian shelling in the Bilozerka district killed one person and injured another.