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Frontline update: Ukraine continues to destabilize Crimea with drone attacks on Russian targets

Remnants of the Chinese-Made Mugin-5 commercial drone. Russian sources claim Ukraine used such drones to attack Sevastopol oil depot on 29 April. Phoro: screengrab from video
In our daily update from the front, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what’s happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war. Ukrainian forces used cheap Chinese drones to destroy a major oil depot near the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s base in Sevastopol, causing a huge fire.

Day 430: April 29

Today the biggest news comes from Crimea. Here, Ukrainian forces targeted a massive oil depot near the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. In the aftermath of a successful attack, Ukrainians destroyed ten oil product storage tanks containing a total of 40,000 tons of fuel. The fire spread to an area of about 1,000 square meters, and the firefighters assigned it the highest degree of difficulty and could not stop the fire until most of the fuel burned away. It was reported that there were no casualties.

Fuel depot on fire in occupied Sevastopol after alleged drone attack

To conduct such a strike, Ukrainians used several swarms of drones. The attack was carried out immediately after improving weather conditions as the anticyclone moved away from the western coast of the Crimean Peninsula. The drones were launched at night and departed from the Odesa region. Russian sources claim that at least ten drones, nine of which were reportedly taken down by various methods, such as electronic warfare systems, self-propelled air defense systems, and small arms. Russian sources also claimed that only one drone managed to hit the target, setting one oil tank on fire. This means the firefighters were either late or failed to stop the fire from spreading, causing a huge fire and complete destruction of all reservoirs. Interestingly, Ukrainians used cheap Chinese drones, which they manually equipped with explosives.

The fire caused another wave of migration, as thousands of people started leaving Crimea for fear of being directly or indirectly affected by the constantly increasing drone attacks and missile strikes. And this is not surprising, as you remember, several days ago, Ukrainians conducted another drone attack on Sevastopol and hit some facilities near the harbor. There are also numerous unsuccessful drone attacks, such as today’s drone attack on Yevpatoria and Hvardiyske. Even though the goal of these two strikes was to divert the attention of the air defense operators, it also destabilized the situation on the peninsula by causing social unrest.

However, this is only the beginning. Another fire broke out today in the only Russian factory in Perm that produces multiple-launch rocket systems. Around 40 people and ten fire trucks were involved in putting out the fire. The fire started because something happened to the substation, and as a result, the factory became temporarily inoperable, which exacerbated the strain on the artillery.

Another fire today broke out in the industrial zone in Nizhni Novgorod. The fire broke out near the fuel storage, and as a result, three petrol tankers and the nearby trucks were turned to ashes.

Fire breaks out at Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod industrial zone

Today Ukrainians also conducted a HIMARS strike on a certain Russian military base. The details from the Ukrainian side are yet unavailable, but the Russian side published a video showing a demolished building. The video was filmed from the roof because the explosion threw the person on the roof carcass, and the person somehow managed to survive.

Two days ago, Ukrainians conducted another HIMARS strike, targeting the areas of concentration of Russian forces in Opytne. The losses are likely very high because this is a very convenient pre-frontal group of high-rise houses, and Ukrainians also targeted several buildings simultaneously, not allowing the enemy to evacuate after the first strike.

Four days ago, the Spokeswoman for the Ukrainian Southern Group of Forces reaffirmed that the counteroffensive operation is already undergoing and very slowly gaining momentum. She stated that they understand that they are facing a powerful enemy and therefore are not inclined to rush with large-scale actions. She said that, in turn, they are focused on undermining the power of their enemy, and judging by the latest developments, Ukrainians are set to turn Russian logistics into a nightmare. Continuous efforts at destroying newly arrived ammunition, strikes on critical connections of ground lines of communication, disruptions of supplies, targeting of military headquarters, and forcing Russians to disperse their air defense already allowed Ukrainians to set proper conditions for large-scale maneuver warfare several times. It looks like this is starting to happen once again.

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