Drone hits Crimean ammunition depot as strikes kill, wound civilians and journalists in Ukraine

Amidst the deal grain landmark, Kyiv’s efforts to retake occupied territories have been grinding to a halt, as the latest attack in Moscow has forced the evacuation of nearby homes. The massive explosion at an ammunition depot, caused by a Ukrainian drone strike on Saturday, has resulted in the cancellation of the evacuation – Crimea, which was annexed by Russia.

After striking a key bridge that connects Russia to the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula in 2014, Ukraine came under a suspended wartime deal with Moscow. Five days later, a massive attack on the central depot in Crimea sent black plumes of smoke skyward, jeopardizing the safe export of grains to Ukraine through the Black Sea.

Post a message on Telegram, the head of Kremlin-appointed Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, said that authorities were evacuating civilians within a radius of 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the site of the blast, but there were no immediate reports of casualties from the strike.

The Ukrainian military claimed credit for a strike in Oktyabrske, a region in Crimea’s Krasnohvardiiske area, where they destroyed Russian military warehouses and an oil depot without any prior authorization.

A video posted on the Crimean news channel shows billowing plumes of smoke above fields and rooftops near the small settlement of Oktyabrske, with loud explosions rumbling in the background. In the video, a man can be heard saying that blast noises and smoke seemed to be coming from the direction of the airport and a nearby small military base and oil depot.

The attack on the Kerch Bridge in Ukraine, which occurred during the week, was described as “retribution” by Russia. The bombardment of critical oil and grain terminals, along with the damaging of infrastructure, has caused significant damage to the southern Ukrainian cities and port.

During the winter season, Moscow responded by attacking Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, specifically focusing on the nation’s power network, after condemning the incident as an act of terrorism and repairing the truck explosive that caused the destruction of two sections in October when Ukraine also launched an assault on the bridge, resulting in several months of repair work.

The Kerch Bridge, located in southern Ukraine, is a significant structure valued at $3.6 billion. Spanning 19 kilometers (approximately 12 miles), it serves as a vital component for Russia’s military activities and holds the distinction of being the longest bridge in Europe. This bridge plays a crucial role in connecting the peninsula and stands as a prominent representation of Moscow’s territorial assertions over Crimea.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum via a video link, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy referred to the bridge as a legitimate target for Ukraine, emphasizing that Russia has neutralized it and used military ferries to supply it.

After Russia’s departure from the grain agreement, Zelenskyy mentioned in a video statement to the nation on Saturday that he had a conversation with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to talk about “the measures we will take to remove obstacles and guarantee the smooth functioning of the grain passage.”

Zelenskyy expressed that they reached a consensus to organize a gathering of the Ukraine-NATO Council in the upcoming days to engage in discussions regarding the matter. He stated, “We have the capability to resolve the security predicament in the Black Sea.”

Ukrainian authorities stated that a minimum of two noncombatants lost their lives and four additional individuals suffered injuries on Saturday as a result of Russian bombardment, as intense clashes persist in Ukraine’s endeavor to regain control of land from Russia. A woman aged 52 perished in Kupiansk, a town located in the northeastern Kharkiv region, while another individual was slain in a cross-border assault from Russia on a village in the adjacent Sumy province.

Ukrainian officials reported that on Saturday, at least eight civilians were killed and others were injured in Russian attacks on 11 regions throughout the country on Friday and during the night.

According to the German broadcaster, it was reported that Cameraman Ievgen Shylko was among a group that was dispatched to cover news from the Ukrainian army training area, which is approximately 23 kilometers (14 miles) away from the frontline in the eastern Donetsk region. The statement also mentioned that one Ukrainian soldier was killed and several others were wounded near the town of Druzhkivka. Furthermore, a DW cameraman sustained injuries on Saturday due to shrapnel from Russian cluster munitions.

DW correspondent Mathias Bölinger reported, “We witnessed multiple detonations while unexpectedly capturing footage of the Ukrainian military engaging in target practice.” “We observed individuals who had been injured, with subsequent explosions occurring frequently. We then took cover upon confirming that the Ukrainian army had been conducting munitions exercises.”

Because of the threat they pose to civilians, small multiple bomblets that are released and dispersed in the air, known as cluster munitions, have been extensively used by both sides in war. However, they have been banned by more than 100 countries.

The Pentagon has stated that the cluster munitions recently provided to Ukraine by the U.S. Will provide Kyiv with essential ammunition, thus aiding in strengthening its counteroffensive.

The Russian Ministry of Defense announced in an online statement that a group of Russian journalists, who were correspondents for the Kremlin pro-media agency RIA Novosti, were struck by cluster munitions and died later from their injuries. The statement also mentioned that the incident occurred in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, where the journalists were reporting on artillery fire.

The assertions could not be authenticated. Yevhen Balitsky, the Kremlin-appointed leader of the Russian-occupied areas of the Zaporizhzhia territory, alleged in a Telegram message that the reporters were journeying in a non-military automobile that was struck by artillery fire.

The U.S. And its allies were complicit in the attack on journalists, which was condemned as a “heinous crime” by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Battles are raging in the southeastern part of the country, with Ukraine’s air force reporting that it brought down a total of 14 drones, including five Iranian-made ones, on Saturday morning. The air force stated in a regular social media update that all the exploding drones, which were launched by Russian troops during the night, were successfully neutralized, indicating an increasing success rate for Ukraine.

Stay updated on the conflict in Ukraine through AP’s reporting: https://apnews.Com/hub/russia-ukraine.