Russia injures five in Ukrainian drone attack on Black Sea Fleet HQ | Ukraine
Russia has claimed its Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol was hit by a Ukrainian drone strike, injuring five people and prompting authorities to cancel planned Navy Day festivities.
The attack was reported by Mikhail Razvozhayev, the head of the local Russian administration in Sevastopol in Crimea, which was occupied and then annexed in 2014.
“Early this morning, [Ukraine] decided to ruin our Navy Day,” he posted. “An unidentified object flew into the courtyard of Fleet Headquarters, according to preliminary data it was a drone. Five people were injured, they were employees of Fleet Headquarters, there was no no deaths.
“All celebratory events have been canceled for security reasons,” he wrote. “I ask you to stay calm and stay home if possible.”
A spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Southern Command, Natalia Gumenyuk, did not confirm Ukraine’s involvement in the strike. But she said Ukraine was carrying out operations to liberate Russian-occupied areas by targeting Russian military installations inside Ukraine, not in Russia, and that she considered Crimea to be part of Ukraine.
“The Armed Forces of Ukraine carry out activities to liberate our occupied territories, using the models of weapons available for this purpose. Our targets are exclusively the military installations of the Russian Federation. We do not strike on the territory of the Russian Federation. Crimea is Ukraine,” she said.
Photographs posted on Razvozhayev’s account showed bloodstains and broken glass at the entrance to a military building. A popular Russian military account said the location was the entrance to a cafeteria, 40 to 50 meters from the inner courtyard where Russian officials said the drone struck.
No names or ranks were given for those injured in the attack.
The strike is the latest setback for the Black Sea Fleet in the five-month war against Ukraine. Ukraine sank the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, the cruiser Moskva, in a missile strike in April. Authorities took days to confirm the attack, leading the families of conscripted sailors on board to take to social media to demand more information about the fate of their loved ones.
It is still not known how many sailors were killed in the attack on Moskva. Russia has confirmed only one death on board, while dozens of sailors are missing.
The Russian Navy also lost the Saratov Alligator-class landing ship in a fire believed to have been caused by a Ukrainian missile strike on the port of Berdyansk in March, along with a landing craft and a number of patrol boats during drone strikes near Snake Island.
The Moskva was reportedly conspicuously absent from the Russian Navy Day festivities, which were to include a tour of ships in Sevastopol Bay by the fleet commander, as well as a concert and fireworks, according to media reports. of Russian states.
Sevastopol sits at the southern tip of Crimea and is located hundreds of kilometers from the front lines, making it more likely that the attack was launched from Russian-held territory. A Black Sea Fleet spokesman called the drone “home-made” and said it carried a small explosive on board.
Vladimir Putin traveled to Kronstadt in St. Petersburg, the main base of Russia’s Baltic Fleet, to mark Navy Day celebrations.