Ukraine has launched a new strike against Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol, where officials on the annexed Crimean peninsula say at least one drone was shot down by air defenses.
The attack reported on Saturday morning – a day after explosions erupted near military bases in Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine and Russia itself – intervened in cautious optimism elsewhere as two more grain ships left a Ukrainian port.
The shipments, from the port of Chornomorsk, brought the total number of ships leaving Ukraine’s Black Sea to 27 under a UN-brokered deal.
Although there was no apparent major damage following the reported attack by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on Sevastopol, which has not been independently verified by the Guardian, observers have said that this demonstrated Ukraine’s ability to strike deep behind Russian lines on prestigious targets.
Video shared on Twitter appeared to show Russian air defenses attempting to engage the drone and dark plumes of smoke rising from the city.
Mikhail Razvozhayev, the governor of Sevastopol, wrote on Telegram that a drone hit the roof of the headquarters on Saturday and said there were no casualties, Russian News Agency reports. Cup.
” I’m at [Black Sea] fleet headquarters now. A drone hit the roof here 25 minutes ago. Unfortunately, he was not shot… There are no casualties,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday its forces had killed a total of 44,900 Russian servicemen, up from 200 the previous day.
The US on Friday said for the first time it would provide Ukraine with ScanEagle surveillance drones, mine-resistant vehicles, anti-armour shells and howitzers in a new £655m aid package sterling to help him retake Ukrainian territory.
“These capabilities are carefully calibrated to make a difference on the battlefield and strengthen Ukraine’s position at the negotiating table,” Anthony Blinksaid the US Secretary of State.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the President of Ukraine, said in response to the announcement that it was “another important step in defeating the aggressor”.
Wednesday will mark six months of war in the region since Russia invaded Ukraine.
While Russia has made gains in the east, it has been put on the defensive in other regions as Ukraine steps up its attacks in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which was seized by Russia in 2014.
Last week, a total of nine Russian fighter jets were reported destroyed at an airbase in Crimea.
Russian leaders have warned that such strikes point to an escalation in the conflict, fueled by the United States and NATO allies.
In its latest intelligence update on the conflict, Britain Department of Defense (MOD) said last week that it had seen “only minimal changes in territorial control along the front line”.
In Donbass, he said Russian forces approached the outskirts of Bakhmut, but did not enter the city. In the southwest, he reported that neither Ukrainian nor Russian forces had advanced on the front line in occupied Kherson, but added: “Increasingly frequent explosions behind Russian lines are likely to put severe strain on Russian logistics and air bases in the south”.
While predicting that significant changes were unlikely over the next week, the MOD said: “Over the coming months, the initiative will go to whichever side manages to generate a credible and committed force for operations. offensives.”