A still image taken from a handout video made available by the Governor of Sevastopol's Telegram channel shows a firefighter deployed to extinguish a fire at an oil depot in Sevastopol, Crimea, 29 April 2023. EFE/EPA/SEVASTOPOL GOVERNOR TELEGRAM

Drone strike on Crimea was preamble of counteroffensive, says Ukraine

Kyiv, Apr 30 (EFE).- An explosion in the Russian-annexed peninsula of Crimea over the weekend was a laying the ground for a planned counteroffensive, the Ukrainian military said on Sunday.

“This work was part of the preparations for the large-scale offensive that everyone is waiting for,” Nataliya Gumenyuk, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian army’s Southern Command, was quoted by local media as saying.

According to the Ukrainian military intelligence service, the blast in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, likely caused by a drone, destroyed 10 tanks loaded with 40,000 tons of oil destined for the Russian Black Sea fleet.

The attack has made pro-Russian authorities in Crimea and Moscow acknowledge that the “threat is too real” to the point that the families of soldiers deployed in the region were being evacuated, according to Gumenyuk.

Elsewhere, at least four civilians have died in an attack in the town of Suzemka in Russia’s Bryansk region, bordering Ukraine.

“Two more civilians have been found under debris and taken out by now. Unfortunately, both of them died,” regional governor Alexander Bogomaz wrote on his Telegram.

“All in all … Four civilians died,” while two others were wounded and transferred to a hospital, he said.

Bogomaz, recently awarded with honors by Russian president Vladimir Putin, blamed Ukrainian nationalists for the attack.

Although all the Russian regions on the border with Ukraine have boosted their defenses, sporadic attacks have taken place, according to local authorities.

On Saturday, a drone strike targeted an oil tank in Sevastopol, the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet on the Crimean Peninsula that was illegally annexed in 2014.EFE