Ukraine: Crimean drone strike is ‘God’s punishment’ for Russian attacks | world news

Smoke billows over a fuel tank after a suspected drone strike in Sevastopol, Crimea April 29, 2023

Huge plumes of smoke were seen from a Russian oil depot in Sevastopol (Image: Reuters)

A senior Ukrainian official has issued a brutal message after a drone strike caused a huge fire at an oil depot in Russian-controlled Crimea.

Pictures showed huge plumes of smoke billowing from a fuel depot in Sevastopol after it was hit by the drone yesterday morning.

Ukrainian officials do not usually acknowledge explosions at Russian military sites in Crimea, although they have been known to celebrate them with euphemisms.

More than 10 tanks with oil products with a capacity of about 40,000 tons destined for the Russian Black Sea Fleet were destroyed, according to Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence.

Mr Yusov did not say Ukraine was responsible for the blast, instead calling the blast “God’s punishment” for Russia’s strikes in Ukraine on Friday.

He said: “This punishment will take a long time.

“In the near future, for all residents of temporarily occupied Crimea, it is better not to be near military installations and facilities supplying the aggressor’s army.”

A still from video shows smoke rising after a suspected drone attack on an oil depot in Sevastopol, Crimea, April 29, 2023.

Ukrainian official Andriy Yusov said the drone strike was ‘God’s punishment’ (Image: Reuters)

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 defense systems, one artillery unit and one other key enemy target,” but gave no further details.

Russia launched a wave of airstrikes on cities across Ukraine on Friday, killing at least 23 people in the city of Uman.

Russian missiles also attacked Kiev and Donetsk, destroying family homes.

Mr. Yusov’s comments suggest that the drone attack on the oil depot was a response to those attacks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Kyiv will do everything possible to ensure those responsible for the attack on Uman are brought to justice as soon as possible.

Local resident Irina Vovk, 38, hugs her neighbor as they meet outside their homes destroyed by shelling in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine April 29, 2023.

Donetsk was attacked on Friday, leaving family homes devastated (Image: Reuters)

He said in an evening video address: “You are all terrorists and murderers and you all need to be punished.”

Moscow has accused Kiev of sending waves of air and sea drones to attack the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

According to the Moscow-installed Sevastopol governor, no one was injured in the strike and Russian firefighters managed to “prevent a disaster” by putting out the fire.

Mikhail Razvozhayev wrote on Telegram: “According to preliminary information, the fire was caused by a drone hit.

“The enemy … wanted to surprise Sevastopol, as usual, by conducting a sneak attack in the morning.”

A view shows smoke rising after a suspected drone strike in Sevastopol, Crimea, April 29, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer

President Zelenskyy called Russian forces “terrorists and murderers” in a video address after the drone strike in response to the bombing of Uman (Credits: REUTERS)

He also said it had “become clear that only a drone could reach the oil reservoir” after experts surveyed the site.

Another drone was shot down and its wreckage was found on the shore near the terminal, Mr Razvozhaev added.

The Ukrainian armed forces lack long-range missiles capable of hitting targets in places like Sevastopol, but have developed drones as an alternative method of attack.

The strike came as Ukraine prepared for a long-promised counteroffensive to push back Russian forces from territory they had seized since invading in February last year.

Ukraine says control of all of its legal territory, including Crimea, is a key condition of any peace deal.

Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-appointed head of Crimea, said on Telegram that air defense and electronic warfare forces shot down two drones over the region on Saturday.

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Justin Scaccy

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