Amissile reportedly struck an ammunition depot belonging to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet near the port of Sevastopol this week, dealing another blow to Vladimir Putin as Ukraine ramps up attacks on annexed Crimea.

Russian Telegram channel ASTRA reported the missile strike on Wednesday, saying it hit an area near Sevastopol occupied by “military unit 63876,” damaging an armaments storage point belonging to the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Experts close to Ukraine’s defense ministry previously told Newsweek that Kyiv is embarking on a strategy to “demilitarize” the Black Sea Fleet as part of steps toward eventually liberating Crimea, which was annexed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014.

“The military unit site has been damaged, and a soldier has been injured,” ASTRA said, publishing a video of the reported strike, showing a cloud of dark smoke rising into the sky. “During the missile attack, more than 350 police officers were evacuated from the buildings of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Sevastopol.”

The explosion was also reported by a number of Telegram channels, including Crimea Realities, which said that at least four ammunition depots used by the Russian army to store weapons, including missiles, are located near where the explosion was spotted.

Newsweek couldn’t independently verify the reports, and has contacted Russia’s defense ministry for comment via email.

The ministry on Wednesday said that its air defenses had downed two missiles over the annexed peninsula, and blamed Kyiv for the attack. Ukraine hasn’t claimed responsibility.

Strikes in Crimea, Russia’s central logistics hub for its forces in southern Ukraine, have become routine in recent months amid Kyiv’s counteroffensive to reclaim territory occupied by Russian forces. Attacks have focused on military targets in a push to weaken Moscow’s defenses and disrupt Russia from transporting equipment, weapons and troops from mainland Russia into the peninsula.

Continue reading