Ukraine launches missile attack on Russian-occupied Melitopol


Multiple explosions were reported in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol in southern Ukraine, the self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic and annexed Crimea – including Russian military camps.

The explosion in Melitopol came as officials from both sides said Ukraine launched a missile attack on the city on Saturday, while Russian state media said 20 missiles hit the Donetsk People’s Republic on Sunday morning.

Separately, there were reports of multiple explosions in Russia-annexed Crimea, including at a military barracks in Sovetsky.

The Moscow-appointed administrator of Melitopol said four missiles hit the city, killing two and injuring 10 others, while the mayor of Melitopol reported several explosions, including A church occupied by Russian troops.

However, Ukrainian officials have yet to comment on the explosions in Crimea or the Donetsk People’s Republic, and CNN was unable to verify the cause or extent of the damage.

Melitopol in Ukraine’s Zaporizhia region has been under Russian occupation since early March.

Yevgeny Balitsky, the acting governor of Russia’s Zaporizhia region, said the missile attack on Melitopol had “totally destroyed” an entertainment center where “people, civilians and [military] Base personnel were having dinner Saturday night. ”

Ivan Fedorov, Ukraine’s former Melitopol city administrator, acknowledged the attack, which he said targeted a Russian military base.

Fedorov said last month that Russia had turned Melitopol into “a huge military base”.

“The Russian military is settling down in local houses, schools and kindergartens that they have occupied. Military equipment is stationed in residential areas,” Fedorov said in November.

The mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, said there had been several explosions, including at the Christian Church in Melitopol, “which the occupiers took over a few months ago. , and turned it into their hiding place.”

Fedorov, who was not in Melitopol, said Russian troops there had suffered casualties.

Meanwhile, Russian officials said Sunday morning that Ukrainian missiles hit several apartment buildings in the Donetsk People’s Republic, some of which landed near the Opera and Ballet Theater and Kalinin Hospital.

Alexey Kulemzin, head of the Russian-backed city administration, said Ukraine fired 20 “munitions” in the direction of Voroshilovsky and Kalininsky districts at around 5:54 a.m. local time on Sunday. Grad missile.

Ukraine also shelled the city’s Kyivskiy district around 11:03 p.m. local time on Saturday, Kulemzin said.

The Ukrainian military has not confirmed or commented on the attack.

Donetsk has been controlled by Russia-backed separatists since 2014.

Videos and reports of multiple bombings in the Crimean city of Simferopol emerged on social media around 9 p.m. local time on Saturday.

There were also reports of explosions in Sevastopol, the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet; at Russian barracks in Sovietske; in Hvardiiske, Dzhankoi and Nyzhniohirskyi

The explosions came after Moscow stepped up its missile strikes against Ukraine last week after Russia claimed Kiev was behind a recent drone attack on a military airport deep within its territory.

There are conflicting accounts of the Crimea explosion.

The unofficial Crimean media portal “Krymskyi veter” stated that an explosion occurred at the Russian military barracks in Sovetsky, causing a fire in the barracks and causing casualties.

However, the pro-Russian Crimea channel said the fire at the barracks was caused by “careless firefighting”.

“Two people died. Now all the military, about two hundred people, live in another place,” it said.

Sergey Aksenov, the Russian-appointed head of Crimea, said in a telegram: “The air defense system is functioning over Simferopol. All services are working as usual.

Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhaev said the explosion was caused by a firing exercise.

The news came amid reports that 1.5 million people were left without power in Ukraine’s Odessa region following an Iranian-made drone strike.

“Russian terrorists used a total of 15 Shahed drones against Odessa,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his daily address on Saturday.

Ukrainian Sky Guardian shot down 10 of the 15 drones, but the damage was still “significant”, he said, suggesting it would take days to restore power to the area.

“Only critical infrastructure should be connected and connected to the point where it can be powered,” he said.

Since early October, Ukraine has faced widespread attacks on its critical infrastructure and power sources. That has left millions across the country facing power outages amid frigid winter temperatures.

“In general, emergency outages and stable outages continue in various regions,” Zelensky said. “The power system right now is far from normal, to put it mildly.”

Odessa has become one of the hardest hit areas following previous Russian attacks on critical infrastructure.

Zelensky added: “This is the true attitude of Russia towards Odessa, towards the inhabitants of Odessa – deliberate bullying, deliberate attempt to bring disaster to the city.”

Zelensky added that Ukraine received a “new $100 million support package from Norway” on Saturday that will be “precisely used to restore our energy systems after these Russian attacks.”

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