Ukraine bombs the port where Russia's Black Sea fleet moved to after Crimea got too risky for its warships, reports say

  • Ukrainian drones hit Novorossiysk port, causing a fire and power outages, reports say.

  • The attack follows heightened defenses at the port after previous Ukrainian strikes on Crimea.

  • Novorossiysk is vital for Russia's oil exports and naval operations in the Black Sea.

The Russian port of Novorossiysk, which has become an important base for the Black Sea Fleet after repeated attacks on its traditional HQ in Crimea, has been targeted by Ukrainian drones.

This attacks follows previous reports by the UK Ministry of Defence indicating that Russia has been bolstering defenses at the Novorossiysk port to protect its Black Sea Fleet from potential Ukrainian attacks.

The Novorossiysk Fuel oil terminal and Transneft terminal were attacked on May 17 in yet another wartime hit to Russia's oil industry, the Kyiv Independent reported.

The Kirillovskaya substation caught fire, and more than 20 thousand city residents were left without electricity, the Russian Telegram news channel Astra reported.

Satellite images taken on May 18 show traces of a fire on the territory of the sea trade port.

Astra reported there were no casualties.

Footage emerged on social media on May 19 that appeared to show two Ukrainian drones being blasted by machine gun fire as they flew over the port. Business Insider was unable to verify the video.

Residents of Novorossiysk told Astra that they heard more than 35 explosions in the city. The governor officially announced an "unsuccessful attempt to attack by the Ukrainian Armed Forces" and the downing of 10 UAVs.

The deputy mayor barred residents from leaving their homes early in the morning. Traffic was also blocked in the city, and public transport was suspended.

Russia's Ministry of Defense later said that 44 UAVs were shot down over the region overnight.

It appears the attack on Novorossiysk was part of Ukraine's biggest drone attack ever.

In 2023, Russia relocated most of its Black Sea Fleet vessels from occupied Crimea to Novorossiysk after a series of Ukrainian strikes, including a significant missile attack on the fleet's headquarters in Sevastopol.

A general view shows the Novorossiysk Fuel Oil Terminal (NMT) in the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, Russia May 30, 2018. Picture taken May 30, 2018. REUTERS/Natalya Chumakova - RC1D8B62B1F0
A general view shows the Novorossiysk Fuel Oil Terminal in NovorossiiskThomson Reuters

The Novorossiysk port on Russia's Black Sea coast in Krasnodar Krai is a strategic hub for oil exports and naval operations.

The recent spate of attacks targeting Russia's oil industry includes a confirmed drone strike by Ukrainian forces on an oil base in Rostov Oblast on May 15.

As Ukraine maintains pressure on Russia in Crimea and the Black Sea region, its troops have struggled to fend off Russian advances along the eastern front, particularly near Kharkiv.

Despite progress made by Russian forces, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine was not experiencing a shortage of artillery shells for the first time since Russia launched its full-scale invasion.

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