A Russian-appointed official in Crimea says a massive fire broke out at an oil depot there after it was hit by two Ukrainian drones.
KYIV, Ukraine — A massive fire broke out at an oil depot in Crimea after it was hit by two drones in Ukraine, a Russian-appointed official said there Saturday, in the latest in a series of attacks on the peninsula that has been annexed in the region as Russia is preparing for an attack. Anticipate Ukraine’s counterattack.
Mikhail Razvogaev, the Moscow-installed governor of Sevastopol, a port city in Crimea, posted videos and photos of the fire on his Telegram channel.
Razovugayev said the fire in the city’s port was given the highest rank in terms of the complexity of extinguishing it. However, he stated that the open fire was contained.
Razvogayev said the oil depot was attacked by “two enemy drones,” and four oil tanks were set on fire. A third drone was shot down from the sky, and another one was disabled through radio means, according to Moscow-appointed Crimean governor Sergei Aksyonov.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a move most of the world considered illegal. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview this week that his country would seek to retake the peninsula in the next counterattack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Crimea last month to celebrate the ninth anniversary of the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine. Putin’s visit comes the day after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader, accusing him of war crimes.
The reported attack in Sevastopol comes a day after Russia fired more than 20 cruise missiles and two drones into Ukraine, killing at least 23 people. Almost all the victims died when two missiles hit a residential building in the city of Uman, in central Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Ihor Klimenko said Saturday that six children were among the dead, adding that 22 of the 23 bodies found had been identified. Klimenko said two women are still missing.
Russian forces launched more drones into Ukraine overnight. The Ukrainian Air Force Command said that two Iranian-made drones were intercepted, and a reconnaissance drone was shot down on Saturday morning.
Razovugaev said that the oil depot fire did not result in casualties and would not impede the fuel supply in Sevastopol. The city has been regularly attacked by drones, especially in recent weeks.
Earlier this week, Razvogayev reported that the Russian military destroyed a Ukrainian drone that tried to attack the port and another exploded, shattering windows in several apartment buildings, but causing no other damage.
Ukraine’s military intelligence spokesman, Andrei Yusov, told Ukrainian news site RBC Ukraine on Saturday that the oil depot fire was “God’s punishment” for “killed civilians in Uman, including five children”.
He said more than 10 tanks containing oil products for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet had been destroyed in Sevastopol, but stopped short of acknowledging Ukraine’s responsibility for the drone attack. The difference between the number of tanks presented by Yusov and Razvozhayev cannot be immediately reconciled.
After the previous attacks on Crimea, Kiev did not publicly claim responsibility, but asserted that the country has the right to strike any target in response to Russian aggression.
On the other hand, Ukrainian forces bombed the city of Nova Kakhovka, according to the authorities installed by Moscow in the Russian-occupied part of Kherson Province in southern Ukraine. Officials said “heavy artillery fire” cut off electricity to the city.
The Ukrainian-controlled part of the province came under fire on Saturday. Russian shelling in the area of the village of Belozerka killed one person and injured another, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Kherson.
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