The headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol in occupied Crimea came under attack from Ukrainian-launched missiles Friday, damaging the complex and killing at least one military serviceman. Photo courtesy Sergey Malgavko/TASS
Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Ukrainian missile strikes on Sevastopol in Crimea on Friday killed one serviceman and damaged the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Naval Fleet, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Air defense personnel shot down five missiles but the "historic" home of the navy's fleet on the Black Sea was damaged in downtown Sevastopol where many commercial and institutional facilities are located, the ministry said in a statement to the state-run TASS news agency.
"According to available information, one serviceman was killed," the statement added, with many ambulances rushing to the scene where debris was strewn throughout a wide area.
The ministry statement confirmed an initial report of the attack by Sevastopol Gov. Mikhail Razvozhayev, who said at least one fragment of a missile had landed near the Lunacharsky Russian Drama Theater and warned that further strikes may be imminent.
Razvozhayev said that while air raid warnings in Sevastopol had stopped, he urged residents to stay away.
"Air and missile strike alarm has been canceled. Still, please, do not travel downtown. The roads are shut down, a number of special measures are underway," he said.
In an update on social media, Razvozhayev emergency services were still tackling a blaze at the navy facility but that they were managing the situation.
"Work continues to extinguish the fire at the fleet headquarters. There are enough forces and resources. Please remain calm. Emergency services have the situation under control."
Friday's strikes come a little more than a week after a cruise missile strike launched by Ukraine hit a naval repair yard in Sevastopol in the early hours of Sept. 13, injuring at least 24 people and damaging Russian military vessels.
Razvozhayev reported then that four of the injured were taken to hospital in "moderately severe condition" and that emergency services were battling a major blaze at the southern section of the city's shipyard.
Ukraine's Air Forces commander Mykola Olechuk, who warned Russia on social media that the attack would not be the last, fueled speculation that Ukraine may have used British or French-made Storm Shadow cruise missiles in the attack.
The suggestion, which would mark the first time Ukraine had used the weapons against targets inside Russian territory, arose from Olechuk's use of the phrase "storming" in his post.