September 23, 2022

A drone attack in Crimea targets the center of the Russian fleet

KYIV, Ukraine – A small explosive device carried by a makeshift drone detonated at the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean peninsula on Sunday, injuring six people and prompting the cancellation of ceremonies honoring the Russian Navy, officials said. announced the authorities.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion of the drone in a courtyard at Navy headquarters in the city of Sevastopol, but the seemingly improvised and small-scale nature of the attack raised the possibility be it the work of Ukrainian insurgents trying to drive over Russian forces.

A Russian lawmaker from Crimea, Olga Kovitidi, told Russian news agency RIA-Novosti that the drone was launched from Sevastopol itself. She said the incident was being treated as an act of terrorism, the news agency said.

Authorities in Crimea have raised the terror threat level for the region to “yellow”, the second highest level.

Sevastopol, which was seized along with the rest of Crimea from Ukraine by Russia in 2014, lies about 100 miles south of the Ukrainian mainland. Russian forces control much of the continent along the Black Sea.

The Black Sea Fleet Information Service said the drone appeared to be homemade. He described the explosive device as “low-powered”. Sevastopol Mayor Mikhail Razvozhaev said six people were injured. Russian Navy Day celebrations have been canceled in the city.

The Ukrainian Navy and an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the reported drone attack underscored weak Russian air defenses.

“Have the occupiers admitted the impotence of their air defense system? Or their impotence in the face of the Crimean partisans? said Oleksiy Arestovich on Telegram.

If such an attack is possible by Ukraine, he said, “the destruction of the Crimean Bridge in such situations no longer seems unrealistic” – a reference to the span that Russia has built to connect its continent to Crimea after annexation.

TARGETED KILL?

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the mayor of the main port city of Mykolaiv, Vitaliy Kim, said the shelling had killed one of Ukraine’s richest men, Oleksiy Vadatursky, and his wife, Raisa. Vadatursky ran a grain production and export business.

Another presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said Vadatursky was specifically targeted.

It “was not an accident, but a well thought out and organized premeditated murder. just in a house, but in a specific wing, the bedroom, leaves no doubt about aiming and setting the strike,” he said.

Vadatursky’s agro-industry Nibulon includes a fleet of ships for sending grain abroad.

In the Sumy region of northern Ukraine, near the Russian border, shelling killed one person, the regional administration said. And three people have died in attacks over the past day in the Donetsk region, which is partly under the control of Russian-backed separatist forces, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.

Podolyak said on Twitter that footage from the prison where at least 53 Ukrainian POWs were killed in an explosion on Friday indicated the blast originated from inside the Olenivka building, which is under Russian control.

Russian officials claimed the building was attacked by Ukraine in an effort to silence prisoners of war who could give information about Ukrainian military operations. Ukraine has accused Russia of being responsible for the explosion, saying it was carried out to cover up the torture and execution of prisoners.

Satellite photos taken before and after show that a small square building in the middle of the prison complex has been demolished, its roof shattered.

Podolyak said these images and the lack of damage to adjacent structures showed the building had not been attacked from the air or artillery. He argued that the evidence was consistent with a thermobaric bomb, a powerful device sometimes called a vacuum bomb, triggered indoors.

The International Red Cross has asked to go to the prison immediately to ensure that the dozens of wounded POWs receive proper treatment, but said on Sunday its request had not yet been granted. He said denying access to the Red Cross would violate the Geneva Conventions on the rights of prisoners of war.

Meanwhile, Zelenskyy said the war had drastically reduced the size of Ukraine’s grain harvest compared to previous years, but Ukraine was working on ways to export what it had to avoid a crisis. world food.

“The Ukrainian harvest this year is likely to be half as much,” he said on Twitter.

Russia and Ukraine recently reached an agreement that would allow the release of millions of tonnes of grain held up in Black Sea ports. Officials said they expect shipments to begin soon.

UNITED NATIONS MEETING

There were already plenty of issues to tackle when a major UN meeting on the landmark nuclear non-proliferation treaty was originally scheduled to take place in 2020.

Now the postponed pandemic conference finally begins today as Russia’s war in Ukraine has rekindled fears of a nuclear confrontation and increased the urgency of trying to strengthen the 50-year-old treaty.

“This is a very, very difficult time,” said Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Russia’s invasion, complete with ominous references to its nuclear arsenal, “is so important to the treaty and is really going to put a lot of pressure on it,” she said. “How governments react to the situation will shape future nuclear policy.”

The four-week meeting aims to generate consensus on next steps, but expectations are low for substantial agreement, if any.

Still, Swiss President Ignazio Cassis, Prime Ministers Fumio Kishida of Japan and Frank Bainimarama of Fiji and more than a dozen foreign ministers from the nations are among the expected attendees from at least 116 countries, according to an official. UN who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly before the conference.

In force since 1970, the Non-Proliferation Treaty enjoys the broadest support of any arms control agreement. Some 191 countries have joined.

Nations without nuclear weapons pledged not to acquire them, while nuclear-armed Britain, China, France, Russia (then the Soviet Union) and the United States agreed to negotiate with a view to one day eliminating their arsenals. All supported the right of everyone to develop peaceful nuclear energy.

India and Pakistan, which did not sign, later recovered the bomb. North Korea followed suit, which ratified the pact but later announced it was withdrawing. Non-signatory Israel is suspected of having a nuclear arsenal but neither confirms nor denies it.

Nonetheless, the Non-Proliferation Treaty has been credited with limiting the number of nuclear newcomers (US President John F. Kennedy once predicted up to 20 nuclear-weapon nations by 1975) and serving as a framework international cooperation in disarmament.

The total number of nuclear weapons in the world has fallen by more than 75% from the peak of the mid-1980s, largely due to the end of the Cold War between the United States and the former Union Soviet. But experts estimate there are around 13,000 warheads left around the world, the vast majority in the United States and Russia.

Meetings to assess the operation of the treaty are supposed to take place every five years, but the 2020 conference has been repeatedly delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The challenges have only grown in the meantime.

When launching the war in Ukraine in February, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that any attempt to interfere would have “consequences you’ve never seen” and stressed that his country was “one of the nuclear powers most powerful”. Days later, Putin ordered Russia’s nuclear forces to be put on high alert, a move that UN Secretary General António Guterres called “chilling”.

“The prospect of a nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back in the realm of possibility,” he said.

Events in Ukraine create a tricky choice for the upcoming conference, said Patricia Lewis, a former UN disarmament research officer who currently works at international affairs think tank Chatham House in London.

“On the one hand, in order to support the treaty and what it stands for, governments will have to confront Russia’s behavior and threats,” she said. “On the other hand, it risks dividing treaty members.”

Information for this article was provided by Jennifer Peltz, Edith M. Lederer and Liu Zheng of The Associated Press.

In this satellite photo provided by Maxar Technologies, a view of the Olenivka detention center in the eastern province of Donetsk after an attack on the prison reportedly killed Ukrainian soldiers captured in May after the fall of Mariupol, a city Black Sea port where troops and the Azov National Guard Regiment withstood a months-long Russian siege. Separatist authorities and Russian officials said the attack killed 53 Ukrainian POWs and injured 75 others. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies via AP)
Photo Photos of Ukrainians killed fighting pro-Russian separatists since 2014 in the east of the country are displayed at a memorial in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, July 30, 2022. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Photo A woman looks at the car of a civilian shot dead by Russian forces displayed in Mykhailivs’ka Square with damaged Russian military equipment as a symbol of Ukraine’s resistance against invasion in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, July 30 2022. According to a plaque displayed by the National Museum of Military History of Ukraine, the family was evacuating Bucha when Russian troops opened fire on their convoy, wounding two people. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Photo A young girl falls into her father’s arms from a Russian tank that was destroyed and exhibited in Mykhailivs’ka square with other damaged Russian military equipment as a symbol of Ukraine’s resistance against invasion in Kyiv , in Ukraine, Saturday, July 30, 2022. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Photo Couples pose for photos on the Glass Bridge at sunset in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, July 31, 2022. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Gallery: Images from Ukraine, 6 months