Ukraine launches a missile attack on Russian-occupied Melitopol
(CNN) – Multiple explosions have been reported in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol in southern Ukraine, in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and in Crimea, including at a Russian military headquarters.
The explosions in Melitopol came amid reports from officials on both sides that Ukraine launched a missile attack on the city on Saturday, while Russian state media said 20 missiles hit the Donetsk People’s Republic on Sunday morning.
Separately, reports also emerged of multiple explosions in Russian-annexed Crimea, including at a military barracks in Sovetsk.
Melitopol officials in Moscow said four rockets hit the city, killing two and wounding 10, while the mayor of Melitopol reported several explosions, one of which was likely in a church occupied by Russian forces.
However, Ukrainian officials have not commented on the explosions in Crimea or the Donetsk People’s Republic and CNN cannot verify the cause of the explosions or the extent of the damage.
Missiles hit Melitopol
Melitopol, located in Ukraine’s Zaporizhia Oblast, has been under Russian occupation since early March.
The missile attack on Melitopol “totally destroyed” an entertainment center where “people, civilians and base staff. [militar] They were having dinner on Saturday night.”
Ivan Fedorov, the former director of the city of Melitopol in Ukraine, acknowledged the attacks and said they targeted Russian military bases.
Fedrov said last month that Russia had turned Melitopol into a “giant military base”.
The Russian army is settling in captured local homes, schools and kindergartens. Fedorov said in November that military equipment was stationed in residential areas.
Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov said there were several explosions, including at the Melitopol Christian Church, “which the occupiers took control of several months ago and made their hideout.”
And Fedorov, who is not in Melitopol, said that there were dead and wounded among the Russian troops there.
Meanwhile, Russian officials said Sunday morning that Ukrainian missiles hit several residential buildings in the Donetsk People’s Republic, some of which landed near the Opera and Ballet Theater and Kalinin Hospital.
Alexey Kolymzin, head of the Russian-backed city administration, said that Ukraine fired 20 Grad missiles at around 5:54 a.m. local time on Sunday in the direction of the Voroshilovskiy and Kalininsky districts.
Kolymzin said Ukraine also bombed the city’s Kievsky district on Saturday night at around 11:03 p.m. local time.
The Ukrainian military has yet to confirm or comment on the attack.
Donetsk has been in the hands of Russian-backed separatists since 2014.
Valentin Reznichenko, head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration, told Telegram on Sunday that the Dnipropetrovsk region in southern Ukraine was also hit by heavy artillery at night by the Grad. He said there were no injuries.
The communities of Nikopol, Chervonohrivka, and Marhanets were hit, Reznechenko said, adding that more than 50 shells were fired. Nikopol district is located in the Dnipropetrovsk region across the river from Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant occupied by Russia.
In the Chervonohryhorivka community, it said, gas pipelines and power lines were damaged, along with 15 homes, several outbuildings, and cars. He explained that three villages were left without electricity or water, adding that emergency teams have already started repair work.
Explosions in the Crimea
The attack on Melitopol came amid images on social media and reports of several explosions in the Crimean city of Simferopol around 9pm local time on Saturday.
There were also reports of explosions in Sevastopol, the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. in a Russian military barracks in Sovetsk; and in Hvardiiske, Dzhankoi and Nyzhniohirskyi
The explosions come after Moscow intensified its missile attacks on Ukraine last week, in the wake of Russian allegations that Kiev was behind recent drone strikes on military airfields deep in its territory.
There are conflicting accounts about the explosions in Crimea.
The unofficial Crimean media portal, “Krymsky Vetor”, said that an explosion in a Russian military barracks in Sovetsk set the barracks on fire, killing and injuring people.
However, a pro-Russian channel in Crimea claimed that the fire in the barracks was caused by “negligence of the fire department”.
Two people died. Now all the soldiers, about two hundred people, are staying elsewhere.
Sergey Aksenov, the Russia-appointed head of Crimea, said on Telegram: “The air defense system over Simferopol has worked. All services are working as usual.
Mikhail Razovugayev, the governor of Sevastopol, said that the explosions were due to shooting exercises.
1.5 million in Odessa lose electricity
The news comes amid reports that 1.5 million people in Ukraine’s Odessa region have lost power following Iranian-made drone strikes.
“In all, 15 Shahed drones were used by Russian terrorists against Odessa,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during his daily address on Saturday.
He said that “Ukrainian sky defenses” had shot down 10 of the 15 drones, but the damage was still “serious” and noted that it would take a few days to restore electricity supplies in the area.
“Only critical infrastructure is connected to the extent that electricity can be provided,” he said.
Ukraine has faced a massive attack on its critical infrastructure and energy sources since early October. He left this Millions across the country face power outages Amidst very cold temperatures in the winter.
“In general, emergency power outages and stabilization continues in various regions,” Zelensky said. “The energy system is now, to put it mildly, very far from normal.”
Odessa has already been among the hardest hit following previous Russian attacks on critical infrastructure.
Zelensky added, “This is Russia’s true attitude towards Odessa, towards the people of Odessa: deliberate intimidation, a deliberate attempt to bring about disaster in the city.”
On Saturday, Zelensky added, Ukraine received “a new support package from Norway in the amount of 100 million US dollars,” which will be used “specifically to restore our energy system after these Russian attacks.”