Big fuel tank fire in Crimea after suspected drone attack

A fuel tank in the port city of Sevastopol in Russian-held Crimea was engulfed in a massive fire early Saturday that an official appointed by the local Kremlin said was likely caused by a drone strike.

The city on the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014, is home to the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet and important to its dominance at sea. Preliminary information suggests the fire was caused by a drone, Russian-installed Sevastopol governor Mikhail Razvozhaev wrote on the messaging app Telegram. He did not say who could be behind an attack.

Russian officials have blamed Ukrainian forces for repeated drone strikes on Sevastopol on the peninsula’s southwestern tip. Ukraine generally maintains a policy of strategic ambiguity when it comes to strikes in Crimea.

Photos and video posted online, including by the governor, showed a column of dark smoke shooting up into the sky and spreading across the surrounding areas.

The Kazachya Bay fire burned in an area of ‚Äč‚Äčabout 10,000 square feet, Mr Razvozhaev said. He said there were no casualties and no civilian structures were threatened, but the fire was difficult to contain because of the large amount of fuel burning.

A day earlier, Russian forces fired cruise missiles at cities across Ukraine, killing more than two dozen in the deadliest attack in months.

While most of the barrage was intercepted by air defenses, those that got through proved devastating. A residential building was reduced to rubble in downtown Uman. At least 23 people died, including small children who had been sleeping.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that it used precision missiles in Friday’s attack, which hit its target. Ukrainian officials said the devastation of a city far from the front lines was intended to sow terror across the country.

  • Russian shelling: In Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, shelling in the town of Bilozerka hit a hospital and several private homes, killing a 57-year-old woman in her own home and wounding three others, the regional military administration said Friday night.

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