A drone attack on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet injured six people and shut down a festival marking Navy Day in the city of Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula, the mayor said on Sunday.
“There were no fatalities, six people were injured, two in moderate condition, the rest are in stable condition,” Mayor Mikhail Razvozhaev said on social media.
The Black Sea Fleet press service said the drone appeared to be homemade and described the explosive device as “low-power”. Crimean authorities raised the terror threat level for the region to “yellow”, the second highest level.
Sevastopol is about 100 miles south of mainland Ukraine and has been under Russian control since 2014, when the Kremlin illegally annexed Crimea. Russian forces also control much of the mainland coastline along the Black Sea. There was no immediate information on where the drone came from.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to take back Crimea from Russia. His top aide said the drone attack was a reflection of Russia’s weak air defenses.
“Did the occupants admit the impotence of their air defense system? Or their powerlessness against the Crimean partisans?” Oleksiy Arestovich said on Telegram.
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►Russian rockets hit a school in Kharkiv and a bus station in Sloviansk, among other attacks. In southern Ukraine, one person was reported killed and six injured in a shelling of a residential area in Mykolaiv, local officials said.
►Russia’s state natural gas corporation said it stopped shipments to Latvia due to contract violations. Gas giant Gazprom said shipments were stopped because Latvia breached “terms for gas extraction”. The statement likely referred to a refusal to meet Russia’s demand for gas payments in rubles.
A wealthy businessman killed in what a Ukrainian official calls a targeted attack
One of Ukraine’s richest men and his wife were killed in their Mykolaiv home by a Russian missile attack that a Ukrainian official says was carefully targeted.
Oleksiy Vadatursky, who ran a grain production and export business and once received the “Hero of Ukraine” award for his contributions to the country, was killed along with his wife, Raisa, in an attack early Sunday morning, the regional governor Vitaly Kim. .
His assassination comes just as Ukraine is about to resume grain exports under a deal with Russia brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.
The southern port city of Mykolaiv came under heavy shelling overnight, but presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said 74-year-old Vadatursky was specifically targeted. Vadatursky’s agribusiness, Nibulon, includes a fleet of ships to ship grain abroad.
“It was not an accident, but a well thought out and organized premeditated murder,” Podolyak said. “Vadatursky was one of the largest farmers in the country, a key person in the region and a major employer. That the exact impact of a rocket was not only in a house, but in a specific wing, the bedroom, leaves no doubt about aiming and adjusting the hit.”
Zelenskyy declares mandatory evacuation of Donetsk region
As Russian forces and separatists attempt to completely take over the Donetsk region, Ukrainian officials are asking citizens to evacuate Ukrainian-controlled parts of the province. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced a mandatory evacuation and urged people to leave the region and persuade loved ones still there to leave, according to CNN and Reuters.
“The sooner it is done, the more people will leave the Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian army will have time to kill,” he said in his late-night video address on Saturday.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk warned that the region will face serious heating problems this winter due to the destruction of gas pipes and said that people should evacuate before the cold sets in.
New Russian maritime policy targets the US and NATO
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday signed a Maritime Doctrine stating that US efforts to dominate the world’s oceans and NATO’s growing activity are major threats to Russia’s security. The new policy, posted on the Kremlin’s legal information website, cites the US’s global influence on issues related to the use of transportation routes and energy resources.
The policy calls for the development of Russia’s shipbuilding industry in the Far East, in particular for the construction of “high-tonnage ships” for use in the Arctic, as well as advanced aircraft carriers for the navy.
The strategic goals of the policy include increasing the combat capabilities of the Russian navy to protect Russia’s national security and national interests.
Low expectations for the UN conference on nuclear non-proliferation
Nuclear non-proliferation agreements are difficult under the best of circumstances. Current conditions, with Russia waging war in Ukraine and at times reigniting fears of a nuclear confrontation, are far from ideal.
That’s what awaits representatives from more than 110 countries when they meet starting Monday at a major UN conference on the landmark Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The meeting was supposed to take place in 2020, on the 50th anniversary of the treaty, but was postponed due to the pandemic.
The four-week meeting is aimed at building a consensus on next steps, but expectations are low for a substantial deal, if any.
“It’s a very, very difficult time,” said Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, referring to Russia’s nuclear saber-rattling and aggression. “How governments react to the situation will shape future nuclear policy.”
Ukraine sees some success repelling Russian forces
Ukrainian forces are likely to have “successfully repulsed small-scale Russian attacks” near Donetsk in the Donbas region, the British Defense Ministry said. In Kherson, the ministry said, Russian forces have set up pontoon bridges to “compensate for the fact that nearby bridges have been damaged in recent attacks.”
A senior US defense official also said this weekend that the Ukrainians have been making inroads in the Kherson region. “These are not big, giant advances, but they are certainly advances against the Russians,” the official told reporters. A senior military official at the briefing added that Russian forces appear to be “ill-prepared” for Ukraine’s counteroffensive there.
Ukraine condemns Russia for latest act of ‘terrorism’
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for Russia to be recognized as a state sponsor of terrorism, citing the “deliberate mass murder” of Ukrainian prisoners of war by bombing in the breakaway eastern region of Donetsk.
Dozens of Ukrainians held as prisoners of war were reportedly killed in a missile attack on Friday, an attack for which Russia and Ukraine blame each other. Separatist authorities and Russian officials said at least 53 people were killed and 75 wounded in Olenivka, a settlement controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. The prisoners were captured after the fall of Mariupol in May.
“Russia has shown with numerous terrorist attacks that it is the biggest source of terrorism in the world today,” Zelenskyy said.
Contributing: The Associated Press