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Russia accuses Ukraine of attacking Black Sea naval base and Crimea with drones

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Russia had accused Ukraine of attacking its Black Sea naval base in the port of Novorossiysk with sea drones

Russia accused Ukraine on Friday morning of attacking its Black Sea naval base in the port of Novorossiysk with marine drones.

The Novorossiysk attack is the first time a Russian commercial port has been targeted during the 18-month war. The city is a major port on the Black Sea and is home to a naval base, shipyards and an oil terminal. It is a key port for Russian exports.

Novorossiysk sits just across from Crimea, where the Russian Defense Ministry said it foiled another attack by Ukraine overnight, shooting down 13 drones.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Russian ships patrolling the perimeter of the naval base destroyed two Ukrainian maritime drones. Novorossiysk Mayor Andrey Kravchenko said the crews of the Olenegorsky Gonyak and Suvorovets ships “immediately reacted to the attack and helped to avoid the consequences”. Veniamin Kondratiev, the governor of the Krasnodar region where the base is located, said there were no casualties.

The Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which operates an oil terminal in the port, said Russian navy ships repelled a marine drone attack and maritime traffic was temporarily banned. The company said its facilities had not been damaged and loaded tankers would be moved after the ban was lifted.

Footage posted on Russian social media appeared to show a ship firing into the sea and a burning object exploding. Ukrainian agencies released footage from social media channels which they said showed a Russian vessel listed on one side after the attack.

The Associated Press could not verify the videos. Ukrainian officials did not comment on the attack, in accordance with the country’s security policy.

Minutes after confirming the attack on the Black Sea port, the Russian Defense Ministry said it had also repelled another attack by Ukraine on Crimea annexed to Moscow. The Defense Ministry said air defense systems shot down 10 drones and electronically jammed three others.

Videos shared on Russian social media believed to have been released in the Crimean town of Feodosia showed what appeared to be operating air defense systems, as well as loud explosions.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry on Friday also released videos of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visiting a command center in Ukraine. The Defense Ministry did not say Shoigu’s exact whereabouts, but said it heard a report from the group’s commander, Lt. Gen. Andrei Mordvichev, and inspected a captured Swedish CV90 infantry fighting vehicle.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Shoigu thanked personnel for successfully conducting offensive operations towards Lyman and for capturing more advantageous positions.

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