A series of strikes were carried out in Crimea, for which Ukraine claimed or implied responsibility.
The attacks are having a major psychological and operational impact on Russian forces, Western officials said.
More than half of Russian Black Sea Fleet fighter jets are out of service, according to the report.
Ukraine’s attacks on Crimea are having a significant psychological and operational impact on Russian forces, Western officials told reporters, according to the BBC.
In recent weeks, a series of bold strikes have been carried out in Crimea, including explosions at Saki Air Baseexplosions at one ammunition depotand multiple allegations drone attacks on Sevastopol.
On Saturday, images circulated on social networks appeared to show smoke billowing from a new drone attack on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol.
Ukrainian officials have avoided publicly claiming responsibility for all of the attacks, but have often implicitly taken responsibility. An anonymous Ukrainian official said The New York Times that an “elite” military unit “behind enemy lines” was responsible for the explosions in Saki.
The attacks could be the work of Ukrainians who have trained closely with US special operators since 2014, Insider’s Stavros Atlamazoglou previously. reported.
Western officials, who spoke to media anonymously, said the strikes had depleted Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, with more than half of their naval jets now out of commission, the BBC reported.
The once revered fleet also suffered significant losses of its vessels at the hands of Ukraine, including the sinking of his warship Moskva in April.
The setbacks forced the fleet into a defensive posture, officials said.
Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine in 2014, which most of the international community considered illegal.
Until August, Crimea was considered beyond the reach of Ukrainian attacks, officials said, according to the BBC.
Attacks on Saki airbase on August 9, which destroyed eight fighter jets, caused Russian tourists to flee the peninsula and psychologically affected Moscow, officials told the BBC.
Crimea provided the main supply route for Russian invasion forces in southern Ukraine, and recent attacks have weakened it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly replaced the commander of the Black Sea Fleet following the explosions, demoting Admiral Igor Osipov in favor of his former deputy, Viktor Sokolov, state news agency RIA reported. Reuters.
If confirmed, Osipov’s demotion would mark the largest dismissal of a military official since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February.
According to the BBC, Russian state media reported that Sokolov told officers they would receive 12 new ships, indicating that Moscow was trying to rearm its weakened fleet.
Following the recent attacks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that the war must end with the liberation of Crimea.
“Crimea is Ukrainian, and we will never give it up,” the president said, according to the BBCwithout directly mentioning the explosions.
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