KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine launched another missile attack on Sevastopol on the occupied Crimean peninsula on Saturday morning, a Russian-appointed official said, a day after an attack on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet That left a soldier missing and the main building burning.
Sevastopol was under air strike alert for about an hour after debris from the intercepted missiles fell near a pier, Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev wrote on the Telegram messaging app. He later added that another missile fragment landed in a park in northern Sevastopol, parts of which had to be cordoned off. Ferry traffic in the area was also stopped and then resumed.
Loud explosions were also heard near Vilnius in northern Crimea, followed by clouds of smoke, according to a pro-Ukrainian Telegram news channel reporting on events on the peninsula. Crimea, illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, has been a frequent target for Ukrainian forces since Russian President Vladimir Putin He ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Ukraine’s intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov told Voice of America on Saturday that at least nine people were killed and 16 others injured as a result of Kiev’s attack on the Black Sea Fleet on Friday. He claimed that Alexander Romanchuk, a Russian general who commanded forces along the key southeastern front line, was “in a very serious condition” after the attack.
Budanov’s claim could not be independently verified and he did not comment on whether Western-made missiles were used in Friday’s attack. The Russian Defense Ministry initially said the attack killed a service member at the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, but later issued a statement that he was missing.
Ukraine’s military also offered more details about Friday’s attack. He said the air force carried out 12 strikes against the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, targeting areas where personnel, military equipment and weapons were concentrated. He said two Russian anti-aircraft missile systems and four artillery units were hit.
Crimea has served as a key support center Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Sevastopol, the main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet since the 19th century, has been of particular importance for naval operations since the beginning of the war.
Ukraine has increasingly attacked naval facilities in Crimea in recent weeks, while the brunt of its summer counteroffensive slowly advances in eastern and southern Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War said. Military experts say it is essential for Ukraine to continue its attacks on targets in Crimea to degrade Russian morale and weaken its military.
In other developments, US President Joe Biden told his Ukrainian counterpart at their meeting at the White House on Thursday that the United States would give Ukraine a version of the longer-range ATACMS ballistic missiles, without specifying how many or when they would be delivered, according to two American officials. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter ahead of an official announcement.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian leaders have long pressed the United States and other Western allies to provide longer-range weapons that would allow Kiev to step up its attacks behind Russian lines while they stay out of reach. shooting.
The United States has so far opposed it, concerned that kyiv could use weapons to penetrate deep into Russian territory and escalate the conflict. The Army Tactical Missile System, known as ATACMS, could give Ukraine the ability to strike Russian targets from up to 300 kilometers (180 miles) away, but the United States also has other variants of the missile that have a shorter range.
Separately, Ukraine’s military said on Saturday that Russia launched 15 Iranian-made Shahed drones in the frontline region of Zaporizhzhia in the southeast, as well as in Dnipropetrovsk province further north. He claimed to have destroyed 14 of the drones.
Separately, Zaporizhzhia regional governor Yuri Malashko said Russia carried out 86 attacks on 27 settlements in the province the previous day, many of them located just a few kilometers (miles) from the fighting. Malashko said an 82-year-old civilian was killed by artillery fire.
In the neighboring Kherson region, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said a 65-year-old woman was killed on Saturday when a Russian projectile hit her garden, while a 78-year-old man was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after a Russian drone dropped explosives.
Prokudin previously said in a separate statement that at least one person was killed and three others injured over the previous day due to Russian bombing. Russia fired 25 shells at the city of Kherson, which lies along the Dneiper River, which marks the line of contact between the warring sides, Prokudin said.
Residential neighborhoods were affected, including medical and educational institutions, government-built stations serving food and beverages, as well as critical infrastructure facilities and a penitentiary, it added.
In the eastern Donetsk region, where heavy fighting is taking place outside Bakhmut, Russian shelling killed one civilian and wounded another on Friday and overnight, local governor Ihor Moroz said Saturday.
AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report from Washington.
For more coverage of the war in Ukraine, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine