Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters was engulfed in flames Friday, less than a month after retired U.S. Army general and former CIA director David Petraeus said he saw a.
What Happened: The day after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Washington, D.C., to meet with President Joe Biden and to urge Congress to authorize additional billions in military and financial assistance to his country, videos posted to social media showed Russia’s naval headquarters, in the Russian-occupied Crimean city of Sevastopol, partially destroyed — an apparent result of a Ukrainian cruise missile attack, according to The Daily Beast.
Ukraine’s achievement was acknowledged by the city's governor, Mikhail Razvozhayev, who has been appointed by Russia. He used the Telegram messaging app to advise locals to steer clear of the city center, according to the outlet.
The Backdrop: Last month, Ukraine’s counteroffensive was viewed by the West as less victorious than officials would have liked, but Kyiv’s ability to significantly diminish Russia’s control over Crimea indicated Ukraine was succeeding at cracking the lines of Putin’s stronghold.
The attack was Ukraine’s second major victory in the city of Sevastopol in a little over a week. On Sept. 13, Ukraine employed British Storm Shadow cruise missiles and naval drones in an assault on a Sevastopol shipyard, destroying a Russian Kilo-class submarine and a landing ship.
The attack marked the most substantial victory on a Russian naval facility since Ukraine sunk Russia’s flagship cruiser, Moskva, in April 2022.
The Significance: Ukraine’s latest counterattack came as Kyiv pushed forward with reopening trade routes across the Black Sea. A vessel departing from the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk, carrying over 17,000 tonnes of grain, left port on Friday for Egypt, according to Bloomberg.
The strike, on what is typically considered the most fortified structure in Crimea, also provided additional evidence of Ukraine's recent advancements in undermining Russia's air defense capabilities over the Black Sea. This development has effectively eroded Russian aerial superiority not only over that body of water but also across a significant portion of southern Ukraine, according to The Daily Beast.