At least 24 people have been injured and two Russian navy ships engulfed in flames following a Ukrainian missile attack on a shipyard in Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea, authorities said.
Sevastopol’s Russia-installed governor, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said on the Telegram messaging app that Ukraine carried out the missile attack in the early hours of Wednesday, and Russian air defences attempted to repel the incoming projectiles. Russian ships at sea had also repelled a sea-borne drone attack.
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Russia’s Ministry of Defence said later that Ukrainian forces launched 10 cruise missiles at the shipyard and three unmanned sea drones at Russian ships in the Black Sea.
Seven missiles were shot down and the sea drones were destroyed, the ministry said, but some of the missiles damaged two ships that were being repaired at a shipyard in Sevastopol.
“The Ukrainian armed forces launched a strike with 10 cruise missiles at the S. Ordzhonikidze ship repair plant,” the Russian Defence Ministry said on Telegram.
“As a result of being hit by enemy cruise missiles, two ships undergoing repairs were damaged,” the ministry said.
Sevastopol is the largest city in Crimea and a major port where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based.
Ukraine’s Kyiv Independent news outlet said the attack took place at approximately 3am local time (00:00 GMT).
⚡️Explosions reported near occupied Sevastopol.
Photos and videos posted to Telegram on Sept. 13 appeared to show an explosion around Sevastopol, a major naval city in Russian-occupied Crimea. The blasts were reported around 3 a.m. local time.
Photo: Crimeanwind/Telegram pic.twitter.com/dwIZBXFlcg
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) September 13, 2023
Kyiv officials have promised to retake Crimea from Russian control and Ukraine has stepped up air and sea attacks on the peninsula in recent weeks.
Several Russian Telegram news monitoring channels reported that the shipyard, which carries out construction and repair on the ships and submarines of the Black Sea Fleet, was on fire.
The size of the fire and scale of damage at the shipyard was not immediately known, though images posted on social media showed large flames in the darkness engulfing what seemed to be port infrastructure. Russian Telegram channels posted videos and more photos of sizeable flames at a facility bordering water.
Also on Wednesday morning, a Russian drone attack on the Danube River port of Izmail, in Ukraine’s Odesa region, caused a fire and civilian injuries, the regional governor said.
Ukraine’s military said 32 Russian drones were shot down during the attack.
“Several groups of strike drones were directed to the Izmail district,” Odesa Governor Oleg Kiper said on Telegram, describing the Russian air raid on the civilian port as the action of “terrorists”.
“Damage to port and other civil infrastructure was recorded … rescuers are putting out the fire,” Kiper said, adding that six civilians were injured and taken to hospital, with three in a serious condition and three others in “moderate condition”.
Located on the border with Romania, Ukraine’s Danube River ports have become a key export route for Ukrainian agricultural products following Russia’s withdrawal from a United Nations-brokered grain deal in July and Moscow’s renewed blockade of the country’s Black Sea ports.