Day 574: Ukraine hits command post for Black Sea fleet in Crimea

Ukraine hits a command post for the Black Sea fleet in occupied Crimea. Russia conducts reconnaissance of Ukrainian energy facilities, says Ukraine’s defense intelligence. Spain pledges more military assistance to Ukraine.

Ukraine hits command post for Black Sea fleet in Crimea

On the morning of September 20, Ukraine conducted a “successful strike” on the command post for Russia’s Black Sea fleet near Verkhnyosadove outside Sevastopol in occupied Crimea, the strategic communications department (StratCom) of the office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said. It gave no further details of what happened.

Local residents had reported hearing blasts near Belbek and Kacha military air fields, on social media. Other social media reports said a Russian military base near Verkhnyosadove was hit.

Russia initially seized the command post in Verkhnyosadove from the Ukrainian Navy.

Russia conducts reconnaissance of Ukrainian energy facilities, says Ukraine’s defense intelligence

Russia conducts reconnaissance of Ukraine’s energy facilities to target them with airstrikes. Ukraine prepares to thwart the attacks, representative of the Main Intelligence Department of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry Andriy Yusov said on television.

“We have information that the enemy is conducting reconnaissance of Ukraine’s energy facilities. There is a threat of renewed terrorist attacks,” Yusov said.

Ukraine prepares to respond to this scenario. It’s unlikely that Russia will give up its plans to conduct attacks on the Ukrainian energy grid, he added.

“We have to be serious about it. The population needs to prepare [for winter] and react to air raid alarms. Of course, Ukraine’s defense forces are preparing as well,” Yusov said. 

Russian missile production does not keep pace with earlier targets. “One thing is to have plans, and another thing is how they get implemented,” he said.

He reminded of one of Russia’s major missile strikes on Ukraine, when Russia launched a barrage of 120 missiles at targets across the country. Russia is not able to repeat that now, but the threat of attacks still stands, he said. “No matter how many missiles [Russia launches], they need to be shot down. We’ll work on that,” Yusov said.

Russia may be gearing up to attack Ukraine’s energy infrastructure again this winter, the UK Defence Ministry said on September 16.

Spain pledges more military assistance to Ukraine

Spain pledged more humanitarian and military assistance to Ukraine, Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles said after the 15th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

Robles welcomed Ukraine’s new Defense Minister Rustem Umerov and hailed a “wonderful cooperation level” with his predecessor, Oleksiy Reznikov. Spain will send armored vehicles, inflatable boats, launchers and missiles for anti-aircraft and anti-ship defense, and ambulance cars, she said.

Spain will train around 4,000 Ukrainian service members, double the planned number. They will be also offered additional training courses, Robles said.

Ukraine can count on Spain’s support, she added.

The Ukraine Defense Contact Group met for the 15th time at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Tuesday, September 19. Ukraine’s Defense Minister Rustem Umerov took part in the gathering.