The seat of Russia Black Sea Fleet was hit by a drone early on Saturday, Russian officials said, as Ukraine continued to strike military targets in the annexed area Crimean Peninsula.
Mykhailo Razvozhaev, the Russian governor of occupied Crimea, said on his Telegram channel that he was in the building in the port city of Sevastapol when “a drone flew to the roof”.
“Unfortunately he was not shot,” he said.
But in a later “clarification” of the incident also posted on Telegram, he said the unmanned aerial vehicle was “shot down just over fleet headquarters. It fell on the roof and caught fire. Defeat failed. Well done boys.
Photos and videos posted online by Ukrainian politicians and media appeared to show the aftermath of the attack, and a large plume of smoke could be seen rising from fleet headquarters. NBC News was unable to independently verify them.
The attack came after a a series of explosions hit military depots and airbases on the annexed peninsula over the past week, hinting at a growing ability of the Ukrainian military or its backers to strike deep behind enemy lines.
Kyiv has stopped publicly claiming responsibility for the blasts, but a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to divulge information about the strikes to journalists, confirmed this week to NBC News that pro-Ukrainian saboteurs were behind them.
The official declined to say whether the military or Ukrainian special forces were also involved in the attacks.
Elsewhere, the Russian Tass news agency reported that anti-aircraft systems shot down six Ukrainian drones over Nova Kakhova, a small town east of the city of Kherson.
Home to around 300,000 people, Kherson is by far the largest city and the first regional capital to fall into Russian hands. Control of the city also means that Moscow can supply fresh water to its forces in Crimea.
Elsewhere, a Russian missile hit a residential area in a southern Ukrainian town on Saturday, not far from a nuclear power plant, injuring 12 civilians and heightening fears of a nuclear accident, Ukrainian officials said.
Vitaliy Kim, Governor of the Mykolaiv region, said on the Telegram messaging app that four children between the ages of 3 and 17 were among those injured in an attack that damaged several private homes and a five-story building in Voznesensk.
The city is about 30 km from the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant, the second largest in Ukraine.
Energoatomthe Ukrainian energy company, which operates the country’s four nuclear power generators, described the Voznesensk attack as “another act of Russian nuclear terrorism”.
“It is possible that this missile was specifically aimed at the Pivdennukrainsk nuclear power plant, which the Russian military tried to take over in early March,” Energoatom said in a statement.
Russia did not immediately respond to the accusation, and NBC News was unable to independently verify the situation on the ground.
The Mykolaiv strikes came after the Russian president Vladimir Putin warned his French counterpart, Emmanuel MacronFriday that the bombardment of the army under Russian control Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which is located east of Mykolaiv, could lead to a large-scale disaster.
A reading of the call from Macron’s office said Putin had accepted a mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency to the plant.