Drone explosion hits Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters

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KYIV, Ukraine – A small explosive device carried by a makeshift drone detonated at the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean peninsula on Sunday, injuring six people and prompting the cancellation of ceremonies honoring the Russian Navy, officials said. authorities.

Meanwhile, one of Ukraine’s richest men, a grain merchant, was killed in what Ukrainian authorities said was a carefully targeted Russian missile strike at his house.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the drone explosion at Navy headquarters. But the seemingly improvised and small-scale nature of the attack raised the possibility that it was the work of Ukrainian insurgents trying to drive out Russian forces.

The blast took place in the port city of Sevastopol in Crimea, which was seized from Ukraine by Russia in 2014. Russian Navy Day holiday celebrations have been canceled in Sevastopol.

The Black Sea Fleet press service said the drone appeared to be homemade. He described the explosive device as “low-powered”. Sevastopol Mayor Mikhail Razvozhaev said six people were injured.

It is not known where the drone began its flight. Sevastopol lies about 170 kilometers (100 miles) south of the Ukrainian mainland, and Russian forces control much of the continental area along the Black Sea.

Following the explosion, authorities in Crimea raised the terror threat level for the region to “yellow”, the second highest level. However, a Russian MP from Crimea, Olga Kovitidi, told Russian news agency RIA-Novosti that conclusions about the attack cannot be drawn until an investigation is completed.

The Ukrainian Navy and an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the reported drone attack underscored weak Russian air defenses.

“Have the occupiers admitted the impotence of their air defense system? Or their impotence in the face of the Crimean partisans? said Oleksiy Arestovich on Telegram.

If such an attack is possible by Ukraine, he said, “the destruction of the Crimean Bridge in such situations no longer seems unrealistic” – a reference to the span that Russia has built to connect its continent to Crimea after annexation.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the mayor of the main port city of Mykolaiv, Vitaliy Kim, said the shelling had killed one of Ukraine’s richest men, Oleksiy Vadatursky, and his wife. Vadatursky ran a grain production and export business.

Another presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said Vadatursky was specifically targeted.

It “was not an accident, but a well thought out and organized premeditated murder. Vadatursky was one of the largest farmers in the country, a key person in the region and a major employer. The fact that the exact hit of a rocket was not only in a house, but in a specific wing, the bedroom, leaves no doubt about the aim and adjustment of the hit,” he said. declared.

Vadatursky’s agro-industry Nibulon includes a fleet of ships for sending grain abroad.

In the Sumy region of northern Ukraine, near the Russian border, shelling killed one person, the regional administration said. And three people have died in attacks over the past day in the Donetsk region, which is partly under the control of Russian separatist forces, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.

Podolyak said on Twitter that footage from the prison where at least 53 Ukrainian POWs were killed in an explosion on Friday indicated the blast originated from inside the Olenivka building, which is under Russian control.

Russian officials claimed the building was attacked by Ukraine in an effort to silence prisoners of war who could give information about Ukrainian military operations. Ukraine blamed Russia for the explosion.

Satellite photos taken before and after show that a small square building in the middle of the prison complex has been demolished, its roof shattered.

Podolyak said these images and the lack of damage to adjacent structures showed the building had not been attacked from the air or artillery. He argued that the evidence was consistent with a hyperbaric bomb set off inside.

The International Red Cross has asked to visit the prison to ensure that the dozens of wounded POWs receive proper treatment, but said on Saturday its request had not yet been granted.

Follow AP’s coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian War at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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