April 29 (Reuters) – A drone strike caused a fire at a fuel storage facility in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, sending a vast column of black smoke into the sky before it was extinguished, the city’s Moscow-installed governor said on Saturday.
Experts examined the site and “it became clear that only one drone was able to reach the oil reservoir,” Mikhail Razvozhaev said on the Telegram messaging app, adding no one had been injured in the fire.
Another drone was downed, its wreckage found on the shore near the terminal, Razvozhaev added.
Ukraine lacks longer-range missiles that can reach targets in places such as Sevastopol, but has been developing drones to overcome this hurdle.
Moscow has accused Kyiv of sending waves of aerial and seaborne drones to attack Crimea, the peninsula that Russia annexed in 2014.
In a daily update on Facebook, the general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces said units had hit “two depots of fuel and lubricants, two air defence systems, one artillery unit and another important enemy target,” but gave no more details.
Ukrainian officials do not usually claim responsibility for explosions at military sites in Crimea, although they sometimes celebrate them using euphemistic language.
A Ukrainian military intelligence official said more than 10 tanks of oil products with a capacity of about 40,000 tonnes intended for use by Russia’s Black Sea Fleet were destroyed, RBC Ukraine reported.
The official, Andriy Yusov, did not say that Ukraine was responsible for the explosion in the comments reported by RBC, instead describing the blast as “God’s punishment” for a Russian strike on a Ukrainian city on Friday.
“This punishment will be long-lasting. In the near future, it is better for all residents of temporarily occupied Crimea not to be near military facilities and facilities that provide for the aggressor’s army,” RBC quoted Yusov as saying.
Ukraine says control of all its legal territory, including Crimea, is a key condition for any peace deal.
Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-appointed head of Crimea, said on Telegram that air defence and electronic warfare forces on Saturday shot down two drones over the region.
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings