Strike at the heart of Russian annexation: a drone attack destroyed the fuel depot in the port of Sevastopol, in Crimea

A massive fire broke out at an oil depot in Crimea after it was hit by two of Ukraine’s drones, a Russian-appointed official there reported on Saturday, the latest in a series of attacks on the annexed peninsula as Russia se prepares for a Ukrainian counteroffensive awaits.

Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Moscow-appointed governor of the Crimean port city Sevastopol, posted videos and photos of the fire on his Telegram channel.

Razvozhayev said the fire at the city’s port was ranked highest in terms of how difficult it will be to extinguish. However, he reported that the open fire had been contained.

In this image taken from a video distributed on Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhaev’s Telegram channel on April 29, 2023, you can see thick black smoke and flames caused by a fuel tank fire burning in Sevastopol, Crimea. (Telegram channel of Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhaev via AP) (Uncredited/)

Razvozhayev admitted that the oil depot was attacked by “two enemy drones” and that four oil depots were burned. A third drone was shot down from the skies over Crimea and another was disabled by radio electronic means, according to Moscow-appointed Crimean Governor Sergei Aksyonov.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a move that was deemed illegal by most of the world. Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview this week that his country will try to recapture the peninsula in the next counteroffensive.

A firefighter talks on a walkie talkie as smoke and flames billow from a burning fuel tank in Sevastopol, Crimea (AP)

The incident occurs a day after Russia will fire more than 20 cruise missiles and two drones at Ukraine, killing at least 23 people. Almost all of the victims were killed when two missiles hit an apartment building in the central Ukrainian city of Uman.Among the deceased were five children, Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko reported on Saturday, adding that 22 of the 23 bodies have already been identified. One woman is still missing, according to Klymenko.

Russian forces launched more drones into Ukraine overnight. The Ukrainian Air Force Command said two Iranian-made Shahed self-exploding drones were intercepted, and a reconnaissance drone was shot down on Saturday morning.

Razvozhayev stated that the oil depot fire caused no casualties and will not hamper the fuel supply in Sevastopol. The city has been the target of regular drone attack attempts, especially in recent weeks.

The Governor of Sevastopol confirmed that a fuel depot caught fire in the port area of ​​Sevastopol on the morning of April 29 and that, according to preliminary information, the fire occurred after an attack by unmanned aerial vehicles (EFE) (SEVASTOPOL GOVERNOR TELEGRAM HAN/)

Earlier this week, Razvozhayev reported that the Russian military destroyed a Ukrainian maritime drone that tried to attack the port and another exploded, breaking the windows of several apartment buildings but inflicting no other damage.

Ukrainian military intelligence spokesman Andriy Yusov told the news site on Saturday RBC Ukraine that the oil depot fire was “a punishment from God” for “the civilians killed in Uman, including five children”.

A view shows smoke rising after a suspected drone strike in Sevastopol, Crimea, April 29, 2023 (REUTERS)
A view shows the smoke that rises after an alleged drone attack in Sevastopol, Crimea, April 29, 2023 (REUTERS) (STRINGER /)

Said more than 10 tanks containing oil products for the Russian Black Sea Fleet were destroyed in Sevastopol, but stopped short of acknowledging Ukraine’s responsibility for a drone strike. The difference between the number of tanks given by Yusov and Razvozhayev could not be immediately reconciled.

After previous attacks against Crimea, kyiv also did not want to openly claim responsibility, stressing, however, that the country had the right to attack any target in response to Russian aggression.

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