Russian port in Crimea rocked by powerful explosion in major threat

Ukraine could reclaim North Crimea 'by Spring' says Shirreff

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A ‘powerful explosion’ has rung out over the central part of the port city of Sevastopol in Crimea, sparking fears in Moscow that the small Russian-annexed land could be under threat. Sevastopol heard a “sound similar to the launch of a rocket” from within the city, according to independent journalists at Krym Realii. The Moscow-installed administrator of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, has claimed the explosion was the “downing of a drone” by Russian forces. 

The “powerful explosion” was heard in the early hours of Thursday morning, though the cause of the noise has not been properly identified. 

Razvozhayev said on Telegram that the noise was a ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet shooting down an unmanned aerial vehicle over the Black Sea, though he did not specify to whom the drone belonged.

Russian authorities in Sevastopol, Russia’s Defense Ministry, and Ukrainian officials have not yet commented on the event.

But Sevastopol has been targeted several times by explosions that Russian authorities say were caused by Ukrainian drone attacks.

The port city of Sevastopol is of vital importance to Vladimir Putin and the plight of Russia as a superpower.

Located in the southwest of Crimea, it is Russia’s only warm water port and is the headquarters of Putin’s prized Black Sea Fleet. 

Ships harboured at Sevastopol have been responsible for bombing cities across Ukraine using long-range missiles. 

In 2014, Putin proved the value of the port city when he swiftly annexed Crimea following pro-West rallies in Kyiv. 

During the invasion of Ukraine, Crimea has also been used as a supply route into the warzone from Russia. 

Military reservists, weaponry and vehicles have been transported up through Crimea and into the Kherson region. 

On October 8, an unexplained explosion on the Crimea Bridge on the Kerch Strait damaged that supply chain. Within hours, Russia’s new war leader, General Sergei Surovokin, nicknamed General Armageddon, initiated mass strikes against Ukraine.

While Russia’s pledge to protect their recently annexed territories on mainland Ukraine have been vociferous, their responses to threats over Crimea have been emphatic and tangible.  

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Last month, Ukrainian forces retook Kherson, the provincial capital of the region, which is roughly 150 kilometres north of Crimea, forcing Russian troops to flee southward over the Dnipro river. 

Since then, Russian forces have been frantically fortifying the interstice between Crimea and the newly-liberated Kherson. 

While the west appears hesitant to supply long-range, offensive weapons to Ukraine, a reluctance that has protected Crimea from an assault, advancing Ukrainian forces could bypass that issue and initiate a more serious threat. 

As the winter months loom ahead, making battlefield conditions more difficult, the Russian occupation of Crimea could face its first challenge from Ukrainian forces since before 2014. 

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