The massive fire which ate through a fuel depot in the military port city of Sevastopol early on Saturday was “God’s punishment” to Russia, a Ukrainian military intelligence official said.
Military intelligence spokesman Andriy Yusov told the Ukrainian RBC website that the explosion destroyed over 10 tanks of oil products with a capacity of some 40,000 tons.
“This is God’s punishment especially for the killed citizens in Uman, among whom are five children,” the website quoted him as saying.
Yusov’s statement referenced a town in central Ukraine which was hit by over 20 Russian cruise missiles on Friday. The strikes left at least 23 people killed, including children, as per Ukrainian tolls.
What happened during the blast?
Russian authorities in the annexed Crimea reported the fire earlier on Saturday, saying that multiple drones were fired at the depot, with one reaching it and causing the fire. The magnitude of the fire warranted a level-four alert, which is the highest level available.
The peninsula’s Russian-installed governor said that that the reserves were not used for petrol station deliveries, and thus the fire would not threaten fuel supplies, suggesting the depot was used for military purposes. He added that no injuries were reported due to the fire.
The office of Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russian-installed governor of the peninsula, said later on Telegram that the fire was completely put out.
Ukraine has not acknowledged involvement in any of several attacks in Crimea since Russia’s full scale invasion of the rest of Ukraine last year, sometimes implying a domestic insurgency.
Speaking to RBC, Ukraine’s Yusov advised Crimea’s residents “not to be near military facilities in the near future and facilities that provide the aggressor’s army.”
Russia illegally seized Crimea in 2014, eight years before launching its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine says it will fight to expel Russia from Crimea and all other territory that Russia has occupied in the ongoing war.