By RFE RL
Two Russian military vessels have been damaged in an apparent large-scale Ukrainian strike on a ship-repair base in Russian-occupied Crimea as Kyiv reported another barrage of Russian drones had struck port infrastructure in the Odesa region.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the shipyard in Sevastopol, which serves as the main base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, was targeted by 10 cruise missiles and three unmanned sea drones.
The ministry said its air defenses shot down seven of the missiles and that the patrol ship Vasily Bykov had destroyed all the boats.
But Russian officials confirmed two ships had been damaged and the Moscow-appointed governor, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said at least 24 people were injured.
“All emergency services are working on the site, there is no danger to civilian objects in the city,” Razvozhayev said on Telegram.
Reuters quoted a Ukrainian intelligence official as saying one large vessel and a submarine were struck in the attack and were likely damaged beyond repair.
“Those are significant damages. We can now say that with a high probability they are not subject to restoration,” Andriy Yusov confirmed to Reuters, without specifying the weapons used for the strike.
Britain’s Sky News reported that Kyiv used U.K.-provided Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles in the attack, citing unnamed Western and Ukrainian sources.
Crimea.Realities, a regional news outlet of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, reported that at least seven blasts were heard at the site, with shock waves breaking windows and bright flashes and smoke visible in the sky.
The strategic shipyard on the peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014, builds and repairs ships and submarines of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. The fleet has launched numerous drone and missile attacks on Ukraine.
Razvozhayev posted a nighttime photo of flames engulfing what appeared to be port infrastructure. Russian Telegram channels posted videos and more photos of massive flames at a facility alongside the water.
The strike on Sevastopol comes after Ukraine claimed on September 11 that it recaptured strategic gas and oil drilling platforms in the Black Sea that Russia seized in 2015. Russia had used the platforms to stage weapons and launch helicopters, and Ukraine said they would help it retake Crimea.
Mykola Oleshchuk, commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, wrote on Telegram: “While the occupiers are still recovering from the night-time bombardment in Sevastopol, I would like to thank the pilots of the Ukrainian Air Force for their excellent combat work! To be continued….”
Elsewhere, Ukrainian port infrastructure in Izmayil was also damaged on September 13 in another Russian drone attack, said Oleh Kiper, the governor of the Odesa region.
“Unfortunately, there were hits. Damage to port and other civilian infrastructure was reported,” Kiper wrote on Telegram, adding that six people had been injured, three of them seriously.
The Ukrainian Air Force later said it intercepted 32 of 44 Shahed-type drones over Ukraine overnight, with most of them launched toward the southern parts of the Odesa region.
Russia has stepped up attacks on Ukraine’s grain-export infrastructure amid talks about the resumption of the Black Sea grain deal, which would allow unhindered exports of grain from Ukrainian ports.
Russia quit the deal in July — a year after it was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said on September 13 that Kyiv’s troops in the east of the country were facing increasing attacks from Russian forces.
Malyar said Russian forces were stepping up attacks in two frontline Ukrainian cities — Avdyivka near the Russia-controlled city of Donetsk and nearby Maryinka.
In the east, “the situation has become much tougher in Maryinka,” Malyar said on national TV.
“The Russians have increased their shelling” and are conducting waves of attacks,” she said.