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Video: Drone bombs Russia’s Black Sea fleet headquarters

Ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. (Photo by Cmapm, Wikimedia Commons/Released)
August 01, 2022

A drone carrying an explosive payload attacked the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol in the Russian-controlled region of Crimea on Sunday.

The drone attack was carried out at the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, where the Black Sea Fleet is headquartered. The attack coincided with Russia’s July 31 Navy Day celebrations.

A video shared on Sunday captured the explosion from a distance.

Russian authorities confirmed the drone attack in comments to the Russian state-run TASS news agency. Sevastopol Mayor Mikhail Razvozhaev said six people were injured in the attack on the Russian navy facility.

TASS described the explosives detonated at the Black Sea Fleet headquarters as “low-powered.”

“There were no fatalities, six people were injured, two in moderate condition, the rest are in stable condition,” Razvozhaev said.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack. Some social media users claimed it was coordinated by Ukrainian forces and their supporters in Russian-controlled Crimea.

It was also not immediately clear what type of drones may have been used in the attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters.

The U.S. and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies have provided a variety of drones to Ukrainian forces since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Among the drones provided to Ukraine are loitering munitions like the Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade, which have a 10 and 25-mile range respectively. Neither the Phoenix Drone or Switchblade would be able to reach the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol from the Ukrainian mainland.

One likely scenario is that the attackers used a commercially available drone rigged with an explosive and flew it over Black Sea Fleet headquarters.

Ukrainian forces have been seen using off-the-shelf drones to carry and then drop grenades or other improvised explosives on Russian forces.

Razvozhaev said the Navy Day celebrations in Sevastopol were canceled due to the attack.

Crimea has been under Russian control since Russian forces annexed the territory from Ukraine in 2014. The Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters have been in Sevastopol since even before the Russian annexation of the broader Crimean territory.

Ukrainian and Russian forces had shared a combined Black Sea Fleet during the Soviet era. Ukraine and Russia later divided up the fleet in the 1997 Partition Treaty on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet. Under the conditions of the treaty, the Russian Navy was permitted to use naval facilities in Crimea.