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Russia Repels Ukrainian Air Attacks

Russian forces thwarted Ukrainian attacks Monday, downing one missile targeting the Crimean port of Sevastopol, and destroying seven drones over the Belgorod region, Russian officials said.

Citing preliminary data, the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said on Telegram that Russian air defense units downed the missile near the Belbek military airfield.

An air raid alert that was announced in Sevastopol Monday evening was subsequently lifted. Traffic on the main bridge linking the Russian mainland with the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula, resumed.

In Belgorod, Russia downed seven drones. There were no casualties, said regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov on Telegram.

Russia's Defense Ministry also said Russian forces destroyed two drones over the Kursk region, but it provided no details of the attack.

Ukraine’s Special Forces said Monday that the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, was killed in a Ukrainian missile attack last week on Russia’s fleet headquarters in Sevastopol.

FILE PHOTO: Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov salutes during a ceremony in Sevastopol, Crimea, Sept. 27, 2022.
FILE PHOTO: Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov salutes during a ceremony in Sevastopol, Crimea, Sept. 27, 2022.

The Russian Defense Ministry has neither confirmed nor denied Ukraine’s allegations.

Friday's attack targeted a meeting of the Russian Navy's leadership in the city of Sevastopol in Russian-annexed Crimea said the Ukrainian military.

"After the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored," the special forces said Monday on the Telegram messaging app.

Reuters could not confirm the numbers of the dead and wounded from the attack.

Russian-installed officials confirmed the Ukrainian attack Friday, saying that at least one missile struck its fleet headquarters.

Kyiv has stepped up attacks in the Black Sea and Crimea as Ukrainian forces press on with a nearly four-month-old counteroffensive to take back Russian-occupied territory.

Attack on Odesa

Earlier Monday, Ukrainian officials said Russian combat drones and cruise missiles killed at least four people and destroyed buildings and infrastructure at the Black Sea port of Odesa, including grain storage facilities.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said Russia’s latest attack was "a pathetic attempt" to retaliate for Ukraine’s missile attack Friday on the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Navy.

Ukrainian Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said on X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter, that the attack destroyed grain storage facilities and inflicted significant damage to the seaport.

Almost 1,000 tons of grain were destroyed and the bodies of two men were found under the rubble of a warehouse where grain was stored, said Odesa region Governor Oleh Kiper.

The Energy Ministry said the strikes damaged power grids, leaving more than 1,000 people in the Odesa region without power.

In other developments Monday, missile debris was found in Moldova's breakaway Transnistria region after Russian missile strikes hit Transnistria’s neighboring Odesa region, according to Oleg Beliakov, co-head of a special commission overseeing security arrangements in the breakaway region.

Beliakov said an explosion had been heard and part of an S-300 missile came down in a garden near a private house but did not explode and caused no damage.

Police, combat personnel and military observers were on the site in the village of Chitcani, about 35 km (22 mi) from the Ukrainian border.

"The warhead of the S-300 missile is lying in the garden. There are some elements with markings still on it, from which it was possible to establish that this was an S-300 missile of the 1968 model," Beliakov told reporters.

It was not immediately clear who had fired the missile.

U.N.-Ukrainian genocide

A new report by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine documents a growing body of evidence of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity committed by Russia in its war of aggression against Ukraine.

The report, which was submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council Monday, presents a picture of widespread violations and abuse against the civilian population and of wanton, large-scale destruction of essential infrastructure.

“The commission is concerned by the continuous evidence of war crimes committed by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine,” said Erik Mose, chair of the commission.

“Well into the second year of the armed conflict, people in Ukraine have been continuing to cope with the loss and injury of loved ones, large-scale destruction, suffering and trauma as well as economic hardship that have resulted from it,” he said. “Thousands have been killed and injured, and millions remain internally displaced or out of the country.”

Russia, who boycotted the proceedings and was not in the room to respond to these charges, said it will give its final objections against the jurisdiction of the World Court in a genocide case brought by Ukraine against Russia. Russia has denied targeting civilians in Ukraine.

Prosecutor General of Ukraine Andriy Kostin says an unprecedented amount of war crimes have been committed by Russia. “At the moment we have registered 105,000 [cases],” he said in an interview with the Ukrainian service of Voice of America.

Kostin said that Ukraine is cooperating with international judicial and investigative agencies such as the International Criminal Court as well as the U.S. Department of Justice to uncover all of Russia’s violations against humanity in Ukraine, a long and tedious process, he said.

“Top priority cases like forced deportation of Ukrainian children, but also [they are] helping us to create practice in spheres which [have] never been prosecuted before in history. We are now prosecuting crimes against environment,” he said, adding that Ukraine is also getting close to prosecuting cyberattacks as war crimes.

Some information for this report was provided by VOA’s Lisa Schlein, VOA’s Ukraine Service, The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.