Dramatic video footage has shown a fuel tank ablaze in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol from a suspected drone attack.
The peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014 has come under repeated attacks since the start of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year for which Moscow has blamed Kyiv.
Clips shared on social media on Saturday show flames ripping through the facility in the Kazachya Bay district and smoke billowing into the sky. By daylight, the plume of smoke was still rising over the city,
The Moscow-installed governor of Crimea, Mikhail Razvozhaev, said on his Telegram account that preliminary information suggested two drones had caused the fire. Tass news agency reported it engulfed around 21,500 square feet.
There were 60 firefighters trying to control the blaze, which Razvozhaev said was under control but would not be fully extinguished until 6 p.m. local time, around 14 hours after it started. No one had been injured and there would be no evacuation of nearby residents, the governor added.
He said that the fire will not affect the fuel supply situation in Sevastopol, adding, “I want to emphasize once again: the main thing is that no one was hurt. With the rest—we’ll figure it out.”
Over the last six months, there have been regular reports of fires and attacks on the Russian-occupied Crimea and Sevastopol, its largest city and the main naval base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
Ukraine has repeatedly said it intended to recapture the peninsula as part of its aims to fight against Russian aggression. Ukraine’s armed forces, which Newsweek has contacted, have not commented on the latest blaze, but Ukrainian social media users reveled in the reported strike.
“The Ukrainian nights can be a bit chilly in the Springtime, so the Armed Forces of Ukraine generously helped the Russian invaders get warmed in the occupied Sevastopol,” tweeted Operation Starsky, the account of a Ukrainian national guardsman.
“Nothing brings me more pleasure on the weekend morning than burning accidents at Russian occupiers’ bases in temporarily occupied Crimea. Nothing,” tweeted Maria Drutska.
“Is this the official start of Ukraine’s spring counteroffensive to liberate Crimea from Russian fascists?” tweeted Igor Sushko, a Ukrainian racing car driver.
It comes a day after Russian missiles hit residential areas in Ukraine which authorities said have killed 25 people. In the attacks, buildings were hit by missiles in Uman, in the Cherkasy region.
Following the strikes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Kyiv’s allies to provide better air defenses, including fighter jets “to provide security to our cities, our villages, both in the rear and on the front lines.”