The headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea navy in Sevastopol, Crimea, was hit by a Ukrainian missile on September 22, 2023. Russian-installed officials reported that at least one missile struck the headquarters, while a major cyberattack disrupted internet services in the area. The Russian defence ministry initially stated that a serviceman had been killed, but later revised the statement to say that the man was missing. The ministry also claimed that air defences had successfully downed five missiles. Ukraine’s military confirmed the attack on the Russian Black Sea fleet’s headquarters but provided few details. They announced the successful strike on the Russian Black Sea fleet command in Sevastopol via the Telegram messaging app. The Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, stated that emergency services had brought the fire under control and were now working on pouring water on sections of the building and dismantling damaged structures. He also mentioned that some nearby roads might remain closed during this process. Razvozhayev expressed his pride in the resilience of Sevastopol and the spontaneous gathering of residents in the streets, singing the Russian national anthem. He assured that there were no civilian casualties or damage to civilian infrastructure. Ukraine has been intensifying attacks in the Black Sea and Crimea as part of their counteroffensive to regain Russian-occupied territory. Ukrainian officials consider these attacks on Russian military targets in Russian-held territory as legitimate. Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council, presented two options for the future of Russia’s Black Sea fleet: voluntary or forced “self-neutralisation.” He warned that if the voluntary option was not chosen, the fleet would be dismantled. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak stated that Crimea would be demilitarized and liberated, while Moscow maintains that it will never give up the peninsula. Russian-installed authorities reported that air defences had downed another missile near the town of Bakhchysarai. Additionally, internet service providers in Crimea experienced interruptions due to an unprecedented cyberattack, according to Oleg Kryuchkov, an aide to Crimea head Sergei Aksyonov.
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