Ukraine has successfully targeted over a dozen key points of Russian infrastructure throughout the Crimean Peninsula as Kyiv forges onward with its counteroffensive efforts to reclaim Moscow-occupied territory.
According to a map compiled by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Ukraine has struck 13 Russian targets on the peninsula over the past three months. Kyiv launched its counteroffensive in early June, and has made slow but steady progress in reclaiming territory in the southern and eastern portions of the country. One of its biggest targets, however, has been homing in on Crimea, a strategic base for Russia’s military operations since it launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
On Friday, the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced that it has successfully carried out a missile strike on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Command headquarters in Sevastopol, a city in southern Crimea. Chief of Ukrainian Military Intelligence Kyrylo Budanov told Voice of America that nine people were killed and 16 injured in the attack, including some Russian generals. Russian officials had initially reported that one service member had died in the attack, but later retracted the statement to say the soldier was “missing in action.”
The casualty list includes Russian Colonel General Olexandr Romanchuk, who Budanov reported was in “a very serious condition.” The Ukrainian intelligence officer also claimed that Russian Lieutenant General Oleg Tsekov was reported “unconscious” after the strike. Newsweek could not independently verify Budanov’s claims. The Russian Ministry of Defense has been contacted for comment.
The attack on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters arrived a day after Ukraine carried out a large-scale drone attack across Crimea. The Russian Defense Ministry reported that it stopped the strike and intercepted 19 drones that were headed for the settlements of Novofedorivka, Saky, Yevpatoriya, Dzhankoi and Balaklava. Footage shared to Russian social media channels showed explosions and the sound of drones striking some of the settlements.
Ukraine has also carried out successful strikes against Russia’s navy fleet stationed in Sevastopol, the strategic Kerch Bridge that connects Crimea to the rest of Russia, and damaged Moscow’s air defense systems stationed in the peninsula. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously vowed that the war in Ukraine cannot end until all land is returned to Kyiv’s control, including Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
Andriy Zagorodnyuk, Ukraine’s former defense minister, previously told Newsweek that Ukraine’s strategy in Crimea was to “demilitarize” the Kremlin’s Black Sea Fleet.
“[Russia’s] goal is basically to suffocate us economically,” Zagorodnyuk said, who now serves as an adviser to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. “The only way to get out of this situation is to destroy the Black Sea Fleet, to destroy their capability to pursue the occupation of the Black Sea and restore freedom of navigation.”