A Russian official confirmed that Ukraine’s military carried out a significant strike against the main headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Video from Crimea revealed smoke pouring from the building in Sevastopol.
Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russian-installed governor, indicated there was no immediate word on casualties. He said that more firefighters were called in to handle the aftermath, possibly indicating the wide extent of the fire.
The Tass news agency reported that shrapnel was scattered over a significant area. Journalists also noted a line of ambulances around the naval headquarters.
BREAKING: Ukraine carried out a missile strike on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, a Russian official said. Images on social media showed large plumes of smoke said to be coming from Sevastopol harbor in the annexed Crimea. https://t.co/lPECFIoBOg
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 22, 2023
Sevastopol residents were initially cautioned to stay inside due the possibility of another strike from Ukrainian forces. That warning was later rescinded, but citizens were asked to avoid the central area of the city due to the attack.
Kyiv did not immediately confirm that it launched the strike against the Russian naval headquarters.
Journalists from Russia interviewed residents who reported hearing explosions in the skies and seeing large plumes of smoke. There were several videos posted on social media apparently showing the smoke moving over the city’s seafront.
The Associated Press reported that Russian servicemen are listed as missing after the missile strike. The Russian Defense Ministry at first said that one servicemember was killed only to release a follow-up statement saying that he was missing.
Just last week, Russia accused Ukraine of attacking a major shipyard in the city. Moscow said the action damaged two ships being repaired and started a fire.
The Ukrainian attack followed Russia’s striking of its cities just one day before. At least five people were reportedly killed.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with U.S. President Joe Biden and congressional leaders in Washington on Thursday. He requested an additional $24 billion in aid from American taxpayers.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. It has been the launch point of several attacks on Ukraine since the invasion of the country began in February of 2022 and is a frequent target of attacks by Kyiv.
Sevastopol is the historical base of the Kremlin’s Black Sea Fleet dating back to the 19th century. It is the hub of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s naval operations in the war which apparently will drag on indefinitely.