KYIV, Ukraine: Ukraine claimed responsibility for a missile attack that struck the headquarters of Moscow´s Black Sea fleet in annexed Crimea on Friday, leaving one missing and sparking a fire.
Ukraine has targeted Crimea throughout Russia´s offensive but attacks on military installations there have recently intensified. “Around 12:00 (0900 GMT), Ukraine´s Defence Forces launched a successful attack on the headquarters of the command of the Black Sea Fleet of Russia in the temporarily occupied Sevastopol,” the Ukrainian army´s communication department said on Telegram.
Sevastopol, home to Russia´s Black Sea Fleet, has been increasingly targeted as Kyiv has vowed to take back the peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. “I would like to thank the air force pilots once again,” Ukrainian air force commander Mykola Oleshchuk said after the strike.
The Russian defence ministry said one serviceman was missing, after initially reporting one dead in the attack. “The historic headquarters building of the Black Sea Fleet was damaged,” it said, adding air defence had shot down five missiles.
“The headquarters of the fleet have been hit in an enemy missile attack,” Mikhail Razvozhayev, the governor of Crimea´s largest city Sevastopol, had said on social media. Razvozhayev said that missile fragments had fallen near a theatre and urged residents to stay clear of the site.
Ten residential buildings were lightly damaged, he said, but “no one was wounded.” He had warned that another aerial attack could be imminent, urging residents of the city, which is home to more than 500,000 people, to remain indoors.