Planet Labs BBC/Handbook/Reuters
A satellite image shows smoke billowing from the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters after a missile attack in Sevastopol, Crimea on September 22.
Ukraine It said on Saturday that its audacious strike on Russia’s Black Sea naval headquarters in the Crimean city of Sevastopol killed and wounded dozens “including senior leadership”.
The attack Friday was the most dramatic example of Ukraine’s hopes of going after Russian facilities in occupied Crimea — and showing damage to critical infrastructure on the peninsula.
In a statement on Telegram, Ukraine’s special operations forces, a special force known as the “Crab Trap,” said senior members of Russia’s navy were meeting when it was time to launch the attack, and the attack left “dozens dead and wounded, including senior leaders of the fleet . . .” No names were provided and CNN has not independently verified the claim.
Sevastopol is the largest city in Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014. Ukraine has not given up hope of restoring it.
“The brave and tough work of the special operations forces enabled them to attack the Black Sea naval headquarters ‘timely and with precision,’ while senior staff of the Russian Navy were meeting in the temporarily occupied city of Sevastopol,” the statement said.
“The data was sent to the Air Force for strike action. Details about the attack will be revealed once it is over. This resulted in dozens of dead and injured invaders, including the senior leadership of the navy,” the statement said.
And, “We’re moving further!”
Attacks are of strategic and symbolic importance
No further details or any evidence of specific casualties in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet have yet been provided by Ukraine.
The Russian Defense Ministry has so far said one Russian soldier is missing after Friday’s missile strike, which local officials said damaged and scattered debris hundreds of meters from the naval headquarters.
The incident is the latest in a series of attacks targeting Russian facilities in Crimea.
The Ukrainians attacked a Russian military airfield in Chaki, crippled Russian air defenses along the northwest coast, and launched a missile attack on a key dry-ship and ship repair facility in Sevastopol, disabling an attack submarine and a landing craft. .
According to Ukraine’s Security Services (SBU) sources, the attack on Saky caused unspecified but “serious damage” to the airfield.
In the wake of Friday’s attack, Oleksii Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Defense and Security Council, warned that the Russian Black Sea Fleet could be “sliced up like salami” in future attacks.
There are many reasons for Ukraine to target Crimea. Despite Ukraine’s slow progress on its counteroffensive front, it is a political sign that Ukraine can still inflict serious damage on the Russian military. Targets such as the Crimea bridge have considerable symbolic value and strategic purpose.
It is part of a broader effort to attack Russian logistics, fuel, maintenance and command centers – in Crimea, Zaporozhye, Donetsk and Luhansk – to disrupt their ability to supply the front lines.
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