kyiv, Ukraine (AP) — A small explosive device carried by a homemade drone exploded at the Russian Black Sea fleet headquarters on the Crimean peninsula Sunday, injuring six and forcing the cancellation of ceremonies there in honor of the Russian Navy, authorities said.
Meanwhile, one of Ukraine’s wealthiest men, Oleksiy Vadatursky, a grain trader, was killed in what Ukrainian authorities said was a precision Russian missile strike aimed at his residence.
No one claimed responsibility for the explosion of the drone at the moment in a courtyard of the Navy headquarters in the city of Sevastopol. But the apparently small-scale, improvised attack raises the possibility that it was the work of Ukrainian insurgents trying to drive out Russian forces.
A Russian lawmaker from Crimea, Olga Kovitidi, told the Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti that the drone was launched from Sevastopol itself, noting that it is being considered a terrorist act, according to the agency.
Crimean authorities raised the terror threat level for the region to “yellow,” the second highest.
Sevastopol, which Russia annexed along with the rest of Crimea in 2014, is about 170 kilometers (100 miles) south of Ukrainian territory. Russian forces control much of the Ukrainian area adjacent to the Black Sea.
The press service of the Black Sea Fleet indicated that the drone appeared to be homemade and the explosive device was of “low power”. Sevastopol Mayor Mikhail Razvozhaev said six people were injured. The city canceled the ceremonies for the Day of the Russian Navy.
The Ukrainian Navy and an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the drone strike exposed the weakness of Russia’s air defenses.
“Did the invaders recognize the impotence of their anti-aircraft system? Or his impotence in front of the Crimean guerrillas?” asked Oleksiy Arestovich on Telegram.
If Ukraine can carry out such attacks, he said, then “destruction of the Crimean bridge in such situations no longer sounds unrealistic,” a reference to the span Russia built to connect Crimea to its mainland after the annexation.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, the mayor of the port city of Mykolaiv, Vitaliy Kim, said Vadatursky, one of the country’s richest men, and his wife Raisa were killed in a Russian artillery attack. The millionaire headed a grain production and export business.
Another presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said that Vadatursky was specifically targeted.
“It was not an accident, but a well thought out and organized premeditated murder. Vadatursky was one of the largest farmers in the country, a key person in the region, and a major employer. That the exact impact of a rocket was not only on a house, but on a specific wing, the bedroom, leaves no doubt as to how the attack was targeted and calibrated,” he said.
Vadatursky’s company, Nibulon, includes a fleet of ships to ship grain abroad.
In Sumy, a region in northern Ukraine near the Russian border, Russian artillery strikes killed one person, the regional government said. In addition, three people have been killed in an offensive in the last 24 hours in the Donetsk region, which is partly under the control of pro-Russian separatist forces, local governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.
Podolyak said on Twitter that images from the prison where at least 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed in an explosion on Friday indicated the blast came from inside the facility in Olenivka, which is under Russian control.