The attack on Sevastopol, Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet HQ, comes as Russian and Ukrainian forces battle in the southeast.
The Russian navy has “repelled” a drone attack in the bay of Sevastopol, home to Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet in Moscow-annexed Crimea, according to a statement by a Russian-installed governor, as a battle rages for the control of southeastern Ukrainian cities Kherson and Bakhmut.
“Today, starting at 04:30am for several hours, various air defence systems in Sevastopol repelled drone attacks,” Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said on Telegram early on Saturday. “All UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) have been shot down,” he added.
“Nothing has been hit in the city. We remain calm. The situation is under control.”
The attack in Sevastopol – the largest city in the Crimean peninsula, comes as Ukrainian forces have been engaged in a fierce battle with Russian forces in Kherson province, which serves as the gateway to Crimea. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Since launching its counteroffensive late last month, Ukrainian forces have recaptured large territories from Russian forces, including Kharkiv, forcing Russians on the backfoot. The battlefield reversals prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to call for partial mobilisation of its military and reshuffle its military leadership.
Last month a key bridge linking Crimea to mainland Russia was partially damaged in a blast for which Moscow blamed Ukraine. Kyiv has denied its role in the attack that has attracted Russian retribution.
Russia has since carried out massive air and drone strikes across Ukraine, damaging more than one-third of its power infrastructure. On Friday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that about four million Ukrainians were left without power as a result of the attacks.
Russia says soldiers close to Bakhmut
Meanwhile, Moscow has claimed that its soldiers are slowly edging closer to the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut in the eastern Ukraine region.
Taking Bakhmut would rupture Ukraine’s supply lines and open a route for Russian forces to press on towards Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, key Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk province, which, along with Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia, was annexed by Moscow last month.
Local officials said ferries and boats had temporarily stopped crossing the bay of Sevastopol, according to the Reuters news agency.
Moscow’s forces attacked Ukraine from several directions, including from Crimea, when they invaded in February.
Earlier this week, Razvozhayev said that a drone had attacked a thermal power station near Sevastopol.
The Russian fleet stationed in the port had also been attacked by a drone in July.
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