9.1 C
Friday, 30 September, 2022

Buy now


Zelenskiy Warns Of ‘Cruel’ Russian Action Around Independence Day As Russia Pounds Southern Ukraine

The headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine’s occupied Crimea region was hit by a drone attack early on August 20, a Russia-installed administrator reported.

Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Moscow-installed administrator of the port city of Sevastopol, posted on Telegram that the drone crashed into the roof of the building and that there were no casualties.

A video showing a plume of smoke rising over the building was posted on social media.

Live Briefing: Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine

RFE/RL’s Live Briefing gives you all of the latest developments on Russia’s ongoing invasion, how Kyiv is fighting back, Western military aid, global reaction, and the plight of civilians. For all of RFE/RL’s coverage of the war, click here.

The same day, occupation official Oleg Kryuchkov posted on Telegram that “attacks by small drones continue” in various locations around Crimea and urged civilians to “remain calm.”

“The goal is not military but psychological,” he wrote. “The explosives are minimal and not capable of inflicting significant harm.”

Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-imposed governor of Crimea, later reported shooting down Ukrainian drones.

“Air defense systems successfully hit all targets over the territory over Crimea on Saturday morning. There are no casualties or material damage,” he said on Telegram.

The claims cannot be independently verified.

Local media reported anti-aircraft activity near the western Crimean town of Yevpatoria, the southern town of Bakhchysaray, and the Crimean capital, Simferopol, on August 20.

The incidents came just one day after Moscow confirmed that Vice Admiral Viktor Sokolov had taken over as commander of the fleet in the wake of a spate of setbacks.

It was also the second time the fleet’s headquarters had been attacked by a drone. In late July, Sevastopol canceled its celebrations to mark Russia’s Navy Day holiday after a bomb dropped by a drone injured six people.

In April, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, the missile cruiser Moskva, sank near Crimea. Russia claimed a munitions explosion caused the damage that sank the ship, while Ukraine claimed it had sunk the vessel with a missile strike.

On August 9, a Russian military air base in Crimea was rocked by several explosions that destroyed at least nine military aircraft. Germany’s dpa news agency on August 19 quoted Western military officials as saying the attack on the Saky air base had put more than half of the Black Sea Fleet’s aircraft out of commission and forced the fleet into a defensive posture.

On August 19, Russian air defenses were activated in the eastern city of Kerch, which is the terminus of the Crimea Bridge (also called the Kerch Strait Bridge), a high-profile, $4 billion project to link the occupied Ukrainian region with the Russian mainland. No damage to the bridge or the city was reported in the incident.

Ukrainian officials have avoided publicly claiming responsibility for the explosions, but an unnamed senior Ukrainian official was quoted in The New York Times as saying an elite Ukrainian military unit operating behind enemy lines was carrying out at least some of the attacks.

Fighting Intensifies In Ukraine’s South And East

Fighting in southern Ukrainian areas just north of Crimea has stepped up in recent weeks as Ukrainian forces try to drive Russian forces out of cities they have occupied since early in the war.

Ukrainian officials said Russian shelling wounded 12 people, including three children, and damaged houses and an apartment block in the town of Voznesensk in the Mykolayiv region on August 20. Two of the children were said to be in serious condition.

Voznesensk is about 30 kilometers from the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant, the second largest in Ukraine. There were no reports of any damage to the nuclear plant.

The Ukrainian military said on April 20 it had destroyed a prized Russian radar system and other equipment stationed in occupied areas in the southern Zaporizhzhya region.

“Tonight, there were powerful explosions in Melitopol, which the whole city heard,” the Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Ferodov, said. “According to preliminary data, [it was] a precise hit on one of the Russian military bases, which the Russian fascists are trying to restore for the umpteenth time in the airfield area.”

The claims cannot be independently verified.

In the east, Ukraine’s military General Staff said that intensified combat took place around Bakhmut, a small city that has been a key target of Moscow’s eastern offensive for weeks.

A local Ukrainian official reported sustained fighting near four settlements on the border of Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, which together make up the contested Donbas region. The official didn’t name the settlements.

With reporting by AP, dpa, and RFE/RL’s Russian Service


Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles