Massive explosions were seen at a key naval port in annexed Crimea which Russia says was the target of a major Ukrainian drone assault.
Russian Black Sea warships are believed to have fought off the attack in Sevastopol, the largest city in Crimea annexed by Ukraine in 2014.
Residents said the huge blasts ‘shook’ their homes and windows as black smoke billowed from the docks area.
Dramatic footage reportedly showed a Moscow attack helicopter destroying an “underwater drone” in Omega Bay.
Video showed the helicopter hovering over the object in the water before it burst into flames with smoke billowing from it.
The underwater object believed to be a drone was following a warship before it was apparently destroyed by the Russian helicopter.
Missiles were fired from the helicopter which also triggered volleys of machine guns.
Mikhail Razvozhayev, Russian governor of Sevastopol, said there was no damage to the city’s infrastructure.
“Ships of the Black Sea Fleet fight off a drone attack in Sevastopol Bay.” he said.
Residents claimed the huge blasts ‘rocked’ their homes and windows as black smoke was seen billowing from the docks area
Dramatic footage showed a Moscow attack helicopter destroying an ‘underwater drone’ in Omega Bay
“No damage has been reported in the city. The situation is under control. All the intervention services are ready.
An art school student dormitory near the harbor saw “a window shatter” but “no harm was done”, he added.
Russian sources claimed that its air defenses deployed from naval warships were forced to repel a sustained Ukrainian attack which began at 4:30 a.m. and lasted at least five hours.
The Kremlin also accused an American Global Hawk (RQ-4B) which “flew from Italy” of flying over the Black Sea and monitoring Russian responses to the concerted Ukrainian attack.
All passenger ferry services have been suspended in the strategic port which is the headquarters of Putin’s Black Sea Fleet.
Massive explosions were seen at a key naval port in annexed Crimea which Russia says was the target of a major Ukrainian drone assault
Mikhail Razvozhayev, Russian governor of Sevastopol, said: “No damage was reported in the city.
This is what could be the most audacious attack ever launched by Ukraine against Russian naval assets in Sevastopol.
Earlier this week, Razvozhayev said a drone attacked a thermal power station near Sevastopol.
Meanwhile, the Russian fleet stationed in the port had also been attacked by a drone in July.
So far, attempts to verify Razvozhayev’s claims that no damage was done have been unsuccessful.
The Russian statesman pleaded with locals not to post images of the attacks, saying it could help the Kyiv regime.
“A big ask is not to write down what you saw and heard,” he posted.
‘And don’t upload videos. It should be clear to everyone that this data is very necessary for the Ukronazis to understand how the defense of our city is organized.
However, this did not prevent residents from reporting the explosions which took place in the middle of the night.
A resident said: ‘I woke up at 4am to a massive explosion. Thank God it’s [our] air defenses.
Earlier this week, Razvozhayev (pictured) said a drone attacked a thermal power plant near Sevastopol
Russia has also accused an American Global Hawk (RQ-4B) which “flew from Italy” of flying over the Black Sea and monitoring Russian responses to the concerted Ukrainian attack.
“Our ships in Sevastopol Bay repelled a drone attack.
“It was a fun night, very fun even.”
Another said: ‘I woke up with an explosion at 5.30am. Followed some time later by three others…’.
A third added: ‘Ten minutes ago three explosions sounded and rocked the house…’
Meanwhile, another comment said: ‘I woke up this morning to explosions.
‘Never heard anything like this before. It thundered so loudly that the windows rattled in the apartment.
The attack comes as Russia appears to have largely given up on attacking Ukraine and was forced to go on the defensive after Putin’s army was crippled by armies in Kyiv.
Russian troops have been forced onto the defensive along almost the entire front line in Ukraine after Putin’s army was crippled, British intelligence said yesterday.
Severely under-equipped and poorly trained Russian units have stopped advancing on most of the frontline for the past six weeks, British intelligence said yesterday.
Ukrainian forces are advancing in both the north and south of the country – pushing east from Kharkiv to Lugansk and advancing towards Kherson.
In Kherson, companies of soldiers expected to be 100 strong were fighting with just six to eight soldiers each, Defense Ministry analysts added.
As Putin attempts to bolster these units with conscripted troops, it is unlikely that Russia will be able to resume its offensive in the near future.
Earlier this week it emerged that Russia was preparing to pull out of the city of Kherson, but Ukraine now believes Putin is bolstering it.
Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s military intelligence service, said earlier this week that Russia had evacuated civilians but was moving military reinforcements to urban areas, preparing defenses and planning to fight for the city.
He added that the evacuation and talks of a retreat by Russia’s commander-in-chief may have been an effort to draw Ukraine into a costly urban battle.