Russia accused Ukraine on Sunday of launching an attack on its Black Sea fleet headquarters on the annexed Crimean peninsula, and authorities in southern Ukraine’s Mikolaiv said the city suffered its worst bombardment. of the entire conflict.
According to pro-Russian authorities in the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014, a drone landed in the courtyard of the fleet headquarters and the explosion injured six staff members.
The attack forced to cancel in the city the festivities of the annual holiday of the russian armybut these were kept in St. Petersburg, in western Russia, where a military parade was held, in the presence of President Vladimir Putin.
There, Putin assured that the Russian fleet will receive a new hypersonic missile in “the coming months” and signed a new naval doctrine to reinforce Russian positions in the Arctic.
is the first time Russian authorities report an attack of this type since the beginning of its offensive in Ukraine on February 24.
A spokesman for the Odessa regional administration denied Ukraine was behind the attack, calling the Russian accusation “deliberate provocation.”
“Massive” shelling in Mikolaiv
Meanwhile, authorities in Mikolaiv, in southern Ukraine, denounced widespread Russian shelling overnight on Sunday, which left at least two civilians dead, and “powerful explosions” overnight, according to the city’s mayor, Oleksandr Senkevich.
“Mikolaiv suffered a massive shelling today. Probably the strongest so far,” he had written on Telegram early on Sunday.
According to the Ukrainian authorities, the victims are Oleksiy Vadaturskyi, owner of the main Ukrainian grain logistics company, and his wife, Raissa Vadaturska. Both were in his house at the time of the bombing, the same sources assured.
In his Sunday speech, Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky paid tribute to Vadaturskyi, whom he described as a “Ukrainian hero”.
Zelensky’s adviser Mikhailo Podolyak said his death was not an accident “but a well-planned assassination.”
Mikolaiv is the largest Ukrainian-controlled urban center near the front lines in the Kherson region, where the ukrainian army has launched a counteroffensive to regain control of coastal territory of economic and strategic importance.
More than half the population of this city of 500,000 inhabitants has fled since the start of the war.
Russia also hit the Kharkov and Sumi regions in the northeast of the country, close to the front line.
“Today there was a succession of explosions … apparently some buildings were damaged,” said Igor Terejov, mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city.
According to the regional head of Sumi, Dmitro Zhivitski, about 50 bombings left one person dead and two wounded on Saturday night.
Evacuations in Donetsk
In Donetsk, one of two Donbas provinces where Moscow focuses the bulk of its attacks in the east, three civilians were killed and eight wounded in shelling on Saturday, according to the region’s governor.
On Sunday, AFP journalists saw an ambulance pick up a man after heavy fighting in the town of Bakhmut.
Hours earlier, Zelenski asked the population to evacuate the Donetsk region.
“Evacuate, we will help you,” the president said. “In this phase of the war, terror is the main weapon of Russia,” he added.
Ukrainian officials estimate that there are between 200,000 and 220,000 civilians in this region.
Zelensky’s call comes after the bombing of a prison with Ukrainian prisoners of war in Olenivka, a town controlled by Moscow in that province.
The attack left dozens dead and both sides blame each other for what happened.
On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said it had invited the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and to the UN to visit the place so that “an objective investigation” can be carried out.
But the ICRC said in a statement at 3:00 p.m. GMT that it had not received “official confirmation” to visit the site.
Although they are “ready to go to Olenivka”, as they have kept teams in the area since 2014, when clashes with pro-Russian separatist forces began.
After the attack, Zelensky intensified calls to the international community, especially the United States, to officially declare Russia a “State Sponsor of Terrorism”.
Regarding the transport of grains, the spokesman for the Turkish presidency, Ibrahim Kalin, affirmed that there is a “high probability” that a first ship will leave the port of Odessa on Monday morning, according to the terms of an agreement reached on 22 July.