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File photo - Russia's Black Sea fleet Alamy Stock Photo
War in Ukraine

Ukraine claims it killed commander of Russia's Black Sea fleet in unprecedented missile strike

Attacks on Ukraine have killed five civilians and wounded 13 over the past 24 hours.

LAST UPDATE | 25 Sep 2023

UKRAINE HAS CLAIMED had killed the commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in an unprecedented missile strike on the naval headquarters in the annexed Crimean peninsula last week.

It marked a major blow for Moscow, which has suffered a string of attacks on the strategically important port of Sevastopol in recent months.

“34 officers were killed, including the commander of the Black Sea fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded,” Ukraine’s special forces said in a statement on social media.

The strike on Friday sent plumes of black smoke billowing from the building in central Sevastopol, the largest city in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

“The headquarters are beyond repair,” the special forces added in the statement.

Russia’s defence ministry said on the day of the attack that one serviceman was missing, after having initially reported that one person had been killed.

Odesa strikes

Elsewhere, a Ukrainian official said a Russian drone and missile strike near Odesa has damaged port infrastructure, a grain silo and an abandoned hotel and injured one person.

Attacks on Ukraine have killed five civilians and wounded 13 over the past 24 hours.

Ukraine’s air force reported downing all Russian drones overnight, but one of 12 Kalibr missiles and two P-800 Oniks cruise missiles apparently made it past air defences the day after the war in Ukraine entered its 20th month.

Russia has continuously targeted port and grain storage facilities in Odesa since pulling out of a wartime deal allowing Ukrainian grain exports to countries facing the threat of hunger.

The attacks have destroyed silos, warehouses, oil terminals and other infrastructure critical for storage and shipping.

The Russian defence ministry said long-range missiles and drones were used to strike facilities that it alleged had housed foreign mercenaries and trained saboteurs.

The ministry did not name locations or provide other specifics to support its claim.

It also said it downed several Ukrainian drones.

embeddedad306818c9e64186b4a96d80666994e0 A tractor collects straw on a field in a private farm in Zhurivka, Kyiv region Efrem Lukatsky / PA Images Efrem Lukatsky / PA Images / PA Images

The attacks came as independent UN-backed human rights experts said they found new evidence of war crimes committed by Russian forces and as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the arrival of the first Abrams tanks sent by the US.

The UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine said it found evidence of crimes committed by both sides in the war but far more by Russians, including instances of torture, some of it fatal, and rape of women as old as 83.

It said it was also looking into allegations that Russian forces committed genocide.

Zelenskyy thanked allies on Telegram for their support in announcing the anticipated arrival of the tanks.

He did not say how many tanks had arrived but the US said it was sending 31 tanks.

In other fighting, Russian forces also dropped bombs and launched six heavy artillery strikes on southern Ukraine’s Kherson region, destroying a school and factory and damaging residential buildings.

Three of the deaths reported by the Ukrainian president’s office were in the region – two people were killed and two others were injured by bombs that hit the city of Beryslav, while a man was killed in the neighbouring village of Lvove.

In eastern Ukraine, Russians attacked residential areas of 10 cities and villages in the Donetsk region, killing two people in the village of Zarichne, according to the presidential office.

During fighting in southeast Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, the Russian army carried out five airstrikes on Orikhiv, a small city, and its surrounding area.

The Russian defence ministry said its air defences downed three Ukrainian drones over the Kursk region of Russia and three others over the Bryansk region early today.

It also reported that three drones were shot down over the Belgorod region.

Kursk governor Roman Starovoit said a downed drone over Kursk city centre damaged the roof of an administrative building and several private houses and shattered windows in an apartment building.

Starovoit said there were no injuries.

A day earlier, a Ukrainian drone damaged the roof of an administrative building in Kursk that some Ukrainian and Russian media reported housed the offices of the Federal Security Service, Russia’s main domestic security agency.

Bryansk governor Alexander Bogomaz said the drones caused no casualties but Ukrainian rockets damaged a farm building and killed cattle.

During the drone attack, Russian authorities delayed or diverted several flights at Moscow’s airports.

The defence ministry said five other Ukrainian drones were also shot down over Crimea and the Black Sea.

With reporting by © AFP, 2023

Press Association