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Ukraine strikes Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Crimea
The Ukrainian Armed Forces carried out a missile strike Friday on the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol, Crimea, said Mikhail Razvozhayev, head of annexed Sevastopol. A fire started in the headquarters after the strike. The Russian Defense Ministry said one Russian serviceman was missing after the attack. Sevastopol residents reported hearing the sounds of air defense systems. The Russian Defense Ministry wrote that air defense systems shot down a total of five missiles.
Fragments from one of the downed missiles fell near the Lunacharsky Theater, according to Razvozhayev. TASS reports that debris from the missile strike is scattered across hundreds of meters. Razvozhayev had initially said that another attack was possible, but around 2:15 p.m. local time (12:15 a.m. London, 7:15 a.m. New York) announced that the danger had passed. He asked residents not to travel to the city center.
The Black Sea Fleet headquarters building sustained significant damage from the attack. Judging by photos allegedly taken at the site of the strike, the roof and at least one upper floor of the building were destroyed. Razvozhayev said that civilian infrastructure around the fleet headquarters was not damaged and that no one on the street was hurt.
The Russian Defense Ministry blamed the “Kyiv regime” for the attack. “As a result of the attack, the historic Black Sea Fleet headquarters building was damaged," the ministry said. Telegram channels 122 and Shot reported that six people were injured. The Health Ministry of annexed Sevastopol did not comment on the number of casualties, and other sources have not yet confirmed this information. Eyewitnesses said that at least ten ambulances went to the scene.
According to preliminary information from the Mash and Shot Telegram channels, a Storm Shadow cruise missile hit the Russian Black Sea Fleet building. Mash said that during the missile attack on Sevastopol, a U.S. Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft took to the skies over the Black Sea, presumably coordinating the actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The Crimean Peninsula came under simultaneous attack, with air defenses shooting down cruise missiles, said Kremlin-appointed head of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov. Traffic on the Crimean Bridge was closed for more than an hour.
Commander of the Ukrainian Air Force Mykola Oleshchuk thanked Ukrainian pilots for the strike on Sevastopol and promised the attack would not be the last. The AFU Center for Strategic Communications also confirmed the strike: “On September 22, at about 12:00 p.m., the Ukrainian Defense Forces launched a successful strike on the Russian Black Sea Fleet command headquarters in temporarily occupied Sevastopol.”
Later in the day, video footage of a missile striking the Russian fleet’s headquarters surfaced on Telegram.
In a photo published by the Crimean news outlet Krym.Realii, a cloud of smoke is rising over the Black Sea Fleet headquarters just before the strike.
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