Giant fire engulfs oil depot in Russian-held Crimea
An oil depot in Russian-occupied Crimea has exploded after a drone strike with flames above Sevastopol, Crimea’s main city. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility.
It is the latest in a series of attacks on the annexed peninsula as Russia prepares for an expected Ukrainian spring counteroffensive.
The fire had been extinguished without injuries, the regional governor announced. It follows a series of airstrikes on Ukrainian cities, killing at least 25 people.
Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Moscow-appointed governor of Sevastopol, posted videos and photos on Telegram of the blast.
Razvozhayev said the fire at the city’s harbor would be complicated to extinguish but the open blaze had been contained.
He claimed the Russian military destroyed a Ukrainian sea drone targeting the harbour and another one blew up, shattering apartment windows.
The Moscow appointee said the fuel hub was attacked by “two enemy drones” and four oil tanks were destroyed.
He added that the fire would not hinder fuel supplies in Sevastopol. The city has faced regular drone attacks in recent weeks.
Crimea, which was seized by Russia in 2014, is where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based.
This week the Russian authorities announced that a Ukrainian drone attack on Crimea had been blocked.
In Friday’s attacks on Ukraine, 21 out of 23 missiles and two drones were shot down by Ukrainian air defence, Kyiv claimed.
Moscow’s defence ministry said its barrage targeted Ukrainian military reserve bases and that it does not target civilians but thousands of Ukrainian non-combatants have been injured and killed since Russia’s February 2022 invasion.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the airstrikes proved the need for further international action against Russia. Zelensky said this week that Ukraine will seek to reclaim the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine’s spring counteroffensive.
“Evil can be stopped by weapons… And it can be stopped by sanctions – global sanctions must be enhanced,” the comedian turned war leader tweeted on Friday.
Kyiv says it is ready to launch an offensive with new hardware, including main battle tanks, supplied by its western allies.
Russia’s winter offensive has had a limited impact, including a 10-month operation to seize the city of Bakhmut, which is ongoing.
Picture credit: YouTube