Last week’s missile strike on Russia’s Crimean navy headquarters, which claimed the lives of 34 officers, including the fleet commander, was announced by Ukraine on Monday. However, Ukraine did not provide any evidence to support its claim.
According to Ukraine’s Special Operation Forces, the strike on the main building of the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol wounded 105 people. These claims cannot be independently verified and differ significantly from Russia’s official reports.
Initially, Russia’s military had reported one serviceman killed in the attack but later stated the individual was missing, offering no further updates.
Since the start of the Ukraine crisis 20 months ago, the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014, has been a frequent target, serving as a crucial hub supporting the invasion.
In recent weeks, Ukraine has increasingly targeted naval facilities in Crimea while making slow progress in its summer counteroffensive in the east and south. Another barrage followed the attack on Friday.
The new casualty figures represent a significant increase from what Ukraine’s intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, previously stated, with at least nine killed and 16 wounded, leaving the building smoldering. He had also mentioned the severe condition of Russian General Alexander Romanchuk, commanding forces along the key southeastern front line.
The report suggests that Adm. Viktor Sokolov, the fleet’s chief, was also killed, although no supporting evidence was provided. While he was not named in the Special Operation Forces statement, Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, posted his name and photo on social media.
Ukraine’s military offered more details about Friday’s attack, revealing that the air force conducted 12 strikes on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, targeting areas with a concentration of personnel, military equipment, and weapons. They reported hitting two anti-aircraft missile systems and four Russian artillery units.
As casualty figures emerged, a Russian drone and missile strike near Odesa caused damage to infrastructure, including a grain silo and an abandoned hotel, resulting in one person being injured in the Black Sea port city. Additionally, Ukrainian officials reported that in the past day, Russian attacks in other parts of Ukraine had killed six civilians and wounded 13.
Ukraine’s air force claimed to have successfully intercepted all Russian drones launched overnight, although one of the 12 Kalibr missiles and two P-800 Oniks cruise missiles reportedly penetrated the air defenses.
Russia has consistently targeted port and grain storage facilities in Odesa after withdrawing from a wartime agreement that allowed Ukrainian grain exports to nations facing food shortages. These attacks have resulted in the destruction of silos, warehouses, oil terminals, and other critical infrastructure necessary for storage and shipping.
The Russian Defence Ministry asserted that long-range missiles and drones were employed to strike facilities it alleged had harbored foreign mercenaries and trained saboteurs. However, the ministry did not specify locations or provide additional details to substantiate its claims, also noting the downing of several Ukrainian drones.