Friday, May 24, 2024

Crimea fuel-tank blaze likely drone attack, says Moscow official

(Al Jazeera Media Network) A huge fire has broken out in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol following a probable drone attack on a fuel storage tank, Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russian-installed governor, wrote on Telegram.

“A fuel tank is on fire…. According to preliminary reports, a drone attack might have caused the blaze,” he wrote early on Saturday, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

He said an area of 1,000 square metres had been engulfed in flames.

Footage shared on social media and purporting to depict the blaze showed flames engulfing fuel storage tanks and a thick plume of black smoke.

“The situation is under the control of our firefighters and all operative services,” Razvozhayev said, adding that no one was hurt. “Since the volume of fuel is large, it will take time to localize the fire.”

Ukraine has repeatedly declared its intention to retake the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014 to international outcry. The Ukrainian military did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

Razvozhayev reported on Monday that the Russian military had destroyed a Ukrainian surface sea drone that attempted to attack the harbour in the early hours, and that a second drone had exploded. The explosions shattered windows in several apartment buildings but did not inflict any other damage, he said.

The attack was the most recent in a series of attempted strikes on Sevastopol, the main naval base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. After previous attacks on Sevastopol and other areas, Ukrainian officials have stopped short of openly claiming responsibility but point out Ukraine’s right to strike any target in response to Russian aggression.

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