Explosions have once again rocked occupied Crimea. The headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol has been targeted, as well as other parts of the peninsula.
Earlier in the day, the Russia installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhaev, spoke of a calm situation and announced planned artillery exercises. However, closer to 13:00 pm, the Russian authorities once again closed the Kerch Bridge for traffic and suspended maritime transport in Sevastopol. Local social media users had speculated that this was due to rockets or UAVs approaching the peninsula.
Shortly after, reports emerged of air defense activity in the town of Saky, the Garrison in Gvardeysk, over the Razdolnensky District, and near Belbek airfield.
Around 13:15, explosions were heard in Sevastopol. It was reported that, in addition to the smoke over the bay, there was smoke over other areas, possibly indicating an attack.
Later, videos emerged showing the fire at the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. From the photos and videos, it appeared that the building had been destroyed.
Local residents described a "crazy blast wave" and fragments were reported to have fallen near the Lunacharsky Theatre on Nakhimov Avenue. Dozens of ambulances raced through the city, and it has been reported that six people were injured.
Russian authorities have confirmed an attack on the headquarters of the Russian fleet. There are also reports of an drone being shot down over Sevastopol Bay. Air raid sirens were activated in the city. The authorities began evacuation of kindergartens and schools. As of 14:15 in Sevastopol, the missile and aviation threat has been canceled, but residents are asked not to travel to the city center. Roads are closed and the Russian authorities are conducting "a series of special operations."
Crimean social media users have also speculated that the strike on the headquarters may have been carried using a Storm Shadow missile. The Russians claim that the civilian infrastructure around the fleet headquarters has not been affected, nor have people on the streets.
A video has also surfaced online from the Sevastopol waterfront, capturing the sounds of the attacks.
Simultaneously, explosions were heard in other areas of the peninsula. Specifically, in the Simferopol district, as well as near the villages of Pervomaiske and Krasnogvardeyske.
Additionally, according to some reports, smoke is rising in the area of the military unit on Simferopolskaya Street, 2, in Bakhchisarai.
In the meantime, Sergey Aksyonov, the Russia appointed head of Crimea, insists that Russian air defense supposedly shot down all the cruise missiles. There are also social media reports about the strikes on village of Pochtove, possibly targeting a military truck repair base.
The Russian Ministry of Defence has accused Ukraine of carrying out a missile strike, claiming that five missiles were intercepted during the attack.
"Following the attack, the historic building of the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet was damaged. According to the available information, one serviceman has been killed," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
“Ukrainian forces have struck the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the temporarily occupied city of Sevastopol in Crimea,” reported the press service of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on Telegram.
"At around 12:00 on 22 September, the Ukrainian Defence Forces successfully targeted the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the temporarily occupied city of Sevastopol," the statement said.
The Commander of the Air Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Mykolay Oleschuk, hinted that the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet was carried out by Ukrainian pilots.
"We promised that there would be more to come. Therefore, while the occupiers are reeling in Melitopol, and the air raid alarms are still sounding in Sevastopol, once again I would like to thank the pilots of the Air Forces," he said.
He also referred to Sevastopol as a city of the Ukrainian Naval Forces.
The Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov said that the Russian Black Sea Fleet will be removed either voluntarily or by force.
"The best and safest way to preserve the integrity of the economic and industrial complex of the city of Akhtiar (formerly known as Sevastopol) and the surrounding areas is voluntary flooding," he noted, and advised the Russians to destroy the fleet themselves, as otherwise "the fleet will be sliced up like salami."