The headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet was hit by a drone early Saturday, Russian officials said, as Ukraine continued to attack military targets in the annexed Crimean peninsula.
Mykhailo Razvozhaev, the Russian governor of occupied Crimea, said on his Telegram channel that he was at the building in the port city of Sevastapol when “drone flew to the roof.
“Unfortunately, it was not shot,” he said.
But in a later “explanation” of the incident also posted to Telegram, he said the unmanned aerial vehicle was “shot down right over the fleet headquarters. It fell on the roof and caught fire. The defeat failed. Good.” done guys.”
Photos and videos posted online by Ukrainian politicians and media appeared to show the aftermath of the attack, and a large plume of smoke was seen rising from the fleet headquarters. NBC News was unable to independently verify them.
The attack came after a series of blasts that hit military depots and air bases on the annexed peninsula over the past week, suggesting a growing ability of the Ukrainian military or its backers to strike deep behind enemy lines.
Kiev has no longer publicly claimed responsibility for the explosions, but a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to disclose information about the strikes to journalists, this week confirmed to NBC News that pro-Ukrainian saboteurs were behind it. them.
The official declined to say whether the Ukrainian military or special forces were also involved in the attacks.
Elsewhere, Russia’s Tass news agency reported that anti-aircraft defense systems shot down six Ukrainian drones over Nova Kakhova, a small town east of the city of Kherson.
Home to about 300,000 people, Kherson is by far the largest city and the first regional capital to be Russian-owned. Taking control of the city will also allow Moscow to supply fresh water to its forces in Crimea.
Elsewhere on Saturday, a Russian missile hit a residential area of a city in southern Ukraine not far from a nuclear power plant, injuring 12 civilians and raising fears of a nuclear accident, Ukrainian officials said.
Vitaliy Kim, governor of the Mykolaiv region, said on the Telegram messaging app that four children between the ages of 3 and 17 were injured in an attack that damaged several private houses and a five-storey apartment building in Voznesensk.
The city is located about 30 kilometers from the Pivdennoukrainsk Nuclear Power Plant, the second largest in Ukraine.
Energoatom, the Ukrainian energy company that operates all four of the country’s nuclear power generators, described the attack on Voznesensk as “a new act of Russian nuclear terrorism”.
“It is possible that this missile was specifically aimed at the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant, which the Russian army attempted to capture in early March,” Energoatom said in a statement.
Russia did not immediately respond to the accusation and NBC News was unable to independently verify the situation on the ground.
The strikes in Mykolaiv came after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, on Friday that shelling the Russian-controlled nuclear power plant in Zaporizhav, east of Mykolaiv, could lead to a large-scale disaster.
A readout of the call from Macron’s office said Putin agreed to an International Atomic Energy Agency mission to the plant.