Several explosions have been recorded in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol in southern Ukraine and annexed Crimea, including one near a Russian military barracks.
The Melitopol explosions occurred amid accusations from both sides that Ukraine launched a missile attack on the city on Saturday.
Melitopol’s Moscow-installed administrators reported four missiles hitting the city, killing two and wounding ten, while Melitopol’s mayor reported many explosions, including one at a Russian-occupied church.
Separately, additional explosions were reported in Russian-annexed Crimea, notably at a military barracks in Sovietske.
However, Ukrainian officials have not commented on the Crimean explosions, and CNN is unable to confirm the cause of the explosives or the amount of the damage.
Melitopol was attacked by missiles.
Melitopol, in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Oblast, has been occupied by Russia since early March.
The missile attack on Melitopol “totally damaged” a leisure center where “folk, residents, and [military] base employees were eating dinner on Saturday night,” according to Yevgeny Balitsky, Russia’s acting governor of Zaporizhzhia.
Ivan Fedorov, Ukraine’s former Melitopol city administrator, confirmed the strikes, saying they targeted Russian military bases.
Federov claimed last month that Russia has turned Melitopol into “one massive military base.”
“The Russian military is settling in confiscated neighborhood homes, schools, and kindergartens.” Federov stated in November that “military equipment is stationed in residential areas.”
Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of Melitopol, claimed there had been many explosions, including one at the Melitopol Christian Church, “which the occupants seized several months ago and turned into their refuge.”
Fedorov, who is not in Melitopol, stated that there are dead and wounded Russian servicemen there.
The attack on Melitopol occurred at 9 p.m. local time on Saturday, following social media footage and rumors of three explosions in the Crimean capital of Simferopol.
There were additional reports of explosions in Sevastopol, the Russian Black Sea fleet’s headquarters; in Sovietske, a Russian military barracks; and in Hvardiiske, Dzhankoi, and Nyzhniohirskyi.
The explosions come after Moscow increased its missile attacks on Ukraine last week in response to Russian assertions that Kiev was behind recent drone strikes on military airfields deep within its territory.
There are various accounts of the Crimean explosions.
According to the unofficial Crimean media outlet “Krymskyi veter,” an explosion at a Russian military barracks in Sovietske set the barracks on fire, killing and injuring several people.
However, a pro-Russian Crimean television program reported that the incident at the barracks was caused by “careless fire handling.”
“Two persons were killed.” “All of the military, approximately 200 people, are now housed in another location,” it claimed.
“The air defense system operated over Simferopol,” stated Sergey Aksenov, the Russian-appointed leader of Crimea, on Telegram. All services are operational as normal.
The governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhaev, stated that the explosions were caused by firing drills.
1.5 million people in Odesa are without power.
The announcement comes amid claims that 1.5 million residents in Ukraine’s Odesa area have been left without power as a result of strikes by Iranian-made drones.
“Russian terrorists used 15 Shahed drones against Odesa in total,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his daily address on Saturday.
He claimed that “Ukrainian sky defenders” had shot down 10 of the 15 drones, but that the damage was still “serious” and that it would take several days to restore power to the region.
“Only crucial infrastructure is connected, and only to the extent that electricity can be supplied,” he explained.
Since early October, Ukraine has been under attack on its essential infrastructure and electricity supplies. As a result, millions of people across the country have been without electricity during the bitterly cold winter months.
“In general, there are still emergency and stabilizing power outages in various places,” Zelensky stated. “To put it plainly, the power grid is currently very far from normal.”
Following Russia’s prior attacks on key infrastructure, Odesa was already among the worst-affected regions.
“This is Russia’s genuine attitude toward and against the people of Odesa: willful bullying and a deliberate attempt to bring disaster to the city,” Zelensky continued.
Ukraine got “a new support package from Norway in the amount of $100 million” on Saturday, which will be used “just for the rebuilding of our electricity system following these Russian strikes,” Zelensky continued. (Also Read: US sports journalist Grant Wahl dies in Qatar)