A volley of Ukrainian cruise missiles demolished the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, in Occupied Crimea. The strategic communications directorate of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the attack that took place around noon Sevastopol time this way on social media:
The Black Sea Fleet headquarters controls Russian naval operations in the Black Sea. It used to be a sleepy backwater but now with Putin’s War in Ukraine, it is at the center of action. Ships from the Black Sea Fleet, particularly its main base in Sevastopol, are actively involved in attempting to enforce Russia’s porous naval blockade of Ukrainian grain shipments as well as launching cruise missiles at targets in Ukraine.
Fleet Headquarters was struck by two or three cruise missile, either British Storm Shadow (Putin’s War, Week 63. Chechens Replace Wagner in Bakhmut, Storm Shadow Arrives, and Russia Says ‘Family Guy’ Is a Meany-Pants) or French SCALP-EG (Putin’s War, Week 72. Ukraine Misses NATO Membership but Still Wins and Ground Combat Gains ). In this video you can see one of them on short final.
Without a watermark: The moment Ukrainian Storm Shadow/SCALP-G missiles hit the Russian Black Sea Fleet HQ in temporarily occupied Sevastopol, Crimea today pic.twitter.com/MXs74zrvFi
— Giorgi Revishvili (@revishvilig) September 22, 2023
There are reports of several high-ranking officers killed or injured in the attack. Unofficially, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, commander of the Black Sea Fleet, was among the dead.
Budanov claims that the commander of Russian forces in southern Ukraine, Col. Gen. Alexander Romanchuk, and commander of the 200th sep MR bde, Lt. Gen. Oleg Tsekov were severely wounded in the Ukrainian attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters today. https://t.co/h43i3cgZ7W pic.twitter.com/GqLdoqynVV
— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) September 22, 2023
To understand how we got here, you need to look at Ukrainian military operations over the last two or three weeks. A little over a week ago, Ukrainian cruise missiles and unmanned surface vehicles destroyed two Russian warships, a submarine and a landing ship, and an antiaircraft patrol vessel was damaged while underway (see Ukrainian Attack on Russian Fleet Leaves One Ship and One Sub Destroyed With No Nuclear War and Putin’s War, Week 82. Russia Dissed at the UN and the War Moves Toward Rasputitsa). That attack had been set up by a commando raid on a radar and antiaircraft site in Crimea that punched a hole in the air defense belt surrounding Sevastopol. Other antiaircraft sites have been hit in the last two weeks; see Putin’s War, Week 81,and Putin’s War, Week 82. Russia Dissed at the UN and the War Moves Toward Rasputitsa. Last week, an S-400 antiaircraft missile battery covering downtown Sevastopol, the location of the Black Sea Fleet headquarters, was taken out.
These attacks opened a corridor for Ukrainian strike aircraft to get very close to Crimea before launching their missiles.
UKRAINE’S SEALs: Kyiv has recaptured the Petro Hodovalets & Tavrida offshore platforms in the Black Sea. Seized by Russia in 2015, they had been used as radar stations. A counter-attacking Russian Su-30 strike fighter was damaged during the operation. https://t.co/W8me7jMl6Z pic.twitter.com/81RvZtEWih
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) September 11, 2023
More intriguing today that when I posted the update yesterday (Putin’s War, Week 82. Russia Dissed at the UN and the War Moves Toward Rasputitsa) is this item:
Before and after satellite imagery of yesterday’s AFU Storm Shadow missile strike on the Russian Navy command post north of occupied Verkhnosadove, Crimea (44.714735, 33.704408).#OSINT #Counteroffensive #UkraineRussiaWar #UkraineWar #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/oX4YOrADU9
— OSINT (Uri) 🇺🇦 (@UKikaski) September 21, 2023
There are claims that the strike at the Navy command post at Verkhnosadove was intended to create the maximum density at the main headquarters.
If reports of high ranking deaths are true, it looks like Ukraine could have knocked out the Black Sea Fleet’s secret HQ a couple of days ago and basically herded them into the main building for today’s strike https://t.co/w0uJCsrbBX https://t.co/u6AdukNRqF
— Chris York (@ChrisDYork) September 22, 2023
The strike on the Black Sea Fleet’s ships and now this attack on its headquarters is going to have the Russian fleet looking over their shoulders for a while.