Ukraine spies launch ‘special operation’ as explosions rock occupied Crimea

Ukraine strikes Crimean naval port of Sevastopol

Explosions rocked occupied Crimea overnight as Ukrainian sources claimed a “joint special operation” underway between Kyiv’s intelligence agency – the GUR – and the Navy.

The Suspline news agency, quoting residents in Sevastopol, said explosions and gunfire were heard around 8.15pm local time.

One resident told the outlet: “There were three loud explosions and several quiet ones. An acquaintance wrote that the explosions were in the south of the city in the direction of Cape Fiolent.”

The Russian 26th Marine Radio Engineering Unit is based at the cape which boasts 12 radar antennas.

The news agency quoted an intelligence official who claimed the explosions were a result of “a joint special operation of the GUR and the Navy”.

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Moscow denied that the operation was successful and claimed to have downed three Ukrainian drones over occupied Crimea.

Russia’s Ministry of Defence said: “An attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack by an aircraft-type UAV on objects on the territory of the Russian Federation was stopped.

“Two Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed over the southwestern part of the Crimean peninsula by regular means of air defence.”

The ministry later reported that Russian air defences had destroyed another Ukrainian UAV around 9.30pm.

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The unverified report does not make it clear what Kyiv’s forces were attacking or whether they were successful but Sevastopol is home to the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

Last week, Ukrainian strikes targeted the drydock in the city reportedly damaging two Russian ships and injuring 24 people.

An image shared by Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Moscow-appointed governor of Sevastopol, showed the shipyard engulfed in flames with smoke billowing over it.

The shipyard is of strategic importance as it is used to repair Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

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Last Monday, Ukraine claimed it had captured its forces had recaptured strategic gas and oil drilling platforms in the Black Sea that Russia seized in 2015.

Russia had used the platforms for electronic warfare equipment and to launch helicopters and Kyiv said capturing them would help in their fight to regain Crimea.

The peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014. Last month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to do all he could to retake Crimea.

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