A satellite image shows smoke billowing from a Russian Black Sea Navy HQ after a missile strike in Sevastopol, Crimea, on September 22, 2023. (Photo by Planet Labs PBC)
Ukraine says dozens of Russian naval officers, including "senior" ones, have been killed in a missile attack against Moscowís Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.
The Ukrainian army said in a statement Saturday that the Russian navy officers were killed a day earlier after it launched a missile attack against the headquarters, which was engulfed in a huge fire following the aerial attack.
"The details of the attack will be revealed as soon as possible and the result is dozens of dead and wounded occupants, including senior fleet commanders," the Ukrainian army said.
It said the strike was carried out when "a meeting of the Russian navyís leadership" was going on.
According to Ukraineís intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov, "at least nine people" were killed, including generals. He declined to say whether Western-made missiles were employed in the attack.
Crimea declared independence from Ukraine on March 17, 2014, and formally applied to fall under Russian sovereignty following a referendum that had been declared illegal by Kiev. Moscow later annexed the region. Ukraine has vowed to take back Crimea.
The general leading the counteroffensive in the Zaporizhzhia area claimed on Saturday that the Ukrainian army has broken through Russian lines in southern Ukraine.
Ukraine launched its counteroffensive in June, but progress has been slower than expected, with heavily mined territory.
Talking to CNN, General Oleksandr Tarnavskiy acknowledged that the advance had been slower than Ukraine hoped.
"On the left flank (near the village of Verbove) we have a breakthrough and we continue to advance further," he said.
US to send ATACMS long-range missiles to Ukraine: Report
President Joe Biden informed his visiting counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, that Washington would provide Kiev with Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) long-range missiles, NBC News reported on Friday.
Ukraine has repeatedly urged its Western allies to provide it with ATACMS missiles, which have a range of up to 300 kilometers, roughly four times the range of the missiles used by the mobile HIMARS systems that the US began sending to Ukraine last year.
However, it is not yet clear which model of the ATACMS Kiev will be receiving. There are various models of this type of missile, some with a range shorter than 300 kilometers.
The White House, which hosted Zelensky on Thursday, did not comment on the possible donation even though it announced a new $325 million military aid package for Kiev.
At a press conference in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, the Ukrainian president declined to comment on the NBC report, but stressed that Washington was Kievís biggest supplier of weaponry.
"We are discussing all the different types of weapons - long range weapons and artillery, artillery shells with the caliber of 155 mm, then air defense systems," he said, speaking through an interpreter, during an official visit to Canada.
Ukraine says the ATACMS missiles will help its forces strike Russian positions far behind the front lines.
The US has been leading a coalition of Western states arming Ukraine since the war with Russia began in February last year.