Ukraine launches missile attack on Russian-occupied Melitopol



CNN

Several explosions were reported in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol in southern Ukraine, the Donetsk People’s Republic and annexed Crimea – including a Russian military base.

The Melitopol explosions came amid reports by officials on both sides that Ukraine had launched a missile attack on the city on Saturday, while Russian state media said the Donetsk People’s Republic had been attacked on Sunday morning.

Separately, there were also reports of several explosions in Russia-annexed Crimea.

Melitopol’s Moscow-based administrators said four missiles hit the town, killing two and wounding 10, while Melitopol’s mayor reported multiple explosions at a church occupied by Russian forces.

However, Ukrainian officials have not commented on the explosions in Crimea or the Donetsk People’s Republic, and CNN was unable to verify the cause of the blasts or the extent of the damage.

Melitopol, in Ukraine’s Zaporozhye province, has been under Russian occupation since early March.

Missile attack on Melitopol, “people, civilians, and [military] Base personnel were having dinner on Saturday.

The attacks were acknowledged by Ivan Fedorov, the former administrator of Melitopol, Ukraine, who said they targeted Russian military bases.

Last month, Fedorov said Russia had turned Melitopol into “a giant military base”.

“The Russian army is settling in the local houses, schools and kindergartens they captured. Military equipment is stationed in residential areas,” Fedorov said in November.

Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov said that the Melitopol Christian Church has been the scene of several explosions, “months ago the invaders captured it and turned it into their hideout.”

Fedorov, who was not in Melitopol, said there were dead and wounded among the Russian forces.

Meanwhile, Russian officials said Sunday morning that Ukrainian missiles hit several apartment buildings in the Donetsk People’s Republic, with some landing near the opera and ballet theater and Kalinin Hospital.

The head of the Russian-backed city administration, Alexei Kulemchin, said Ukraine fired 20 Krat missiles in the direction of Voroshilovsky and Kalininsky districts at 5:54 a.m. local time on Sunday.

Kulemchin said the Ukrainian shell struck the city’s Kyiv district at 11:03 p.m. local time on Saturday.

The Ukrainian military has yet to confirm or comment on the attack.

Donetsk has been under the control of Russian-backed separatists since 2014.

Ukraine’s southern Dnipropetrovsk region was also shelled overnight by Krat and heavy artillery, head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration, Valentin Reznichenko, said in a telegram on Sunday. There was no loss of life, he said.

The communities of Nikopol, Chervonohryhorivka and Marhanets were hit, Reznichenko said, with more than 50 shells fired. Nikopol district in the Dnipropetrovsk region is located across the river from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.

In Chervonohryhorivka community, gas pipelines and electricity lines were damaged, 15 houses, several outbuildings and cars, he said. Three villages have been left without electricity and water, he said, and emergency workers have already begun repair work.

The attack on Melitopol came amid social media footage and reports of multiple explosions in the Crimean city of Simferopol around 9pm local time on Saturday.

There were also reports of explosions in Sevastopol, the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet; In a Russian military barracks in the Soviet Union; and Hvardiiske, Dzhankoi and Nyzhniohirskyi

The bombings come after Moscow stepped up its pace Missile attacks This follows Russian claims that Kiev was behind the latest drone attacks on military airfields deep inside Ukraine last week.

There are conflicting accounts surrounding the bombings in Crimea.

The unofficial Crimean media portal “Krymskyi veter” reported that an explosion at a Russian military barracks in the Soviet Union left the barracks on fire, killing and injuring people.

However, a pro-Russian Crimean channel attributed the fire at the barracks to “careless handling of the fire”.

“Two people died. Now all the veterans, around two hundred, have been accommodated in another complex,” it said.

Sergei Aksenov, the Russian-appointed head of Crimea, said in a telegram: “The air defense system worked over Simferopol. All services will run as usual.

Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvosev said the explosions were caused by a firing exercise.

1.5 million people in Ukraine’s Odesa region are reportedly without electricity following an Iranian-made drone attack.

“Russian terrorists have used 15 Shahed drones against Odisha,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during his daily address on Saturday.

He said Ukrainian air defenses had shot down 10 of the 15 drones, but the damage was still “significant” and he suggested it would take days to restore power to the region.

“Only critical infrastructure is connected and to the extent that electricity can be supplied,” he said.

Ukraine has faced widespread attacks on its critical infrastructure and energy sources since early October. It has Millions of people across the country faced power cuts Amid freezing winter temperatures.

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

Odessa was already among the worst hit areas following Russia’s earlier attacks on critical infrastructure.

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

Zelensky added that Ukraine on Saturday “received a new support package in the amount of $100 million from Norway” that “will be used precisely to restore our energy system after these Russian strikes.”

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