Several videos showing what appears to be a Ukrainian drone striking the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Russian-occupied Crimea, have surfaced online.
The attack was conducted in broad daylight on August 20, 2022. The drone flew over the city and was filmed from multiple angles.
#Ukraine: A suicide UAV struck the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters in #Sevastopol– It looks like the same kind of modified Chinese commercial drone that used to strike the oil facility in Rostov in June.
It is unclear what air defense was doing. pic.twitter.com/AtJIOLiOJd
— Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) August 20, 2022
Occupation authorities in Sevastopol say that drone was “successfully shot by air defense post” before it crashed in HQ of Russian Black Sea Fleet and set it on fire(exactly its mission) https://t.co/v62lOKuJ4n pic.twitter.com/O0nbGwYNiz
— Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) August 20, 2022
Heavy anti-aircraft fire, likely from small arms or anti-aircraft cannons, can be heard in the background. At least one of the videos, originally posted on local Telegram pages, shows the moment of impact as the drone dives towards the building and explodes.
Further photographs and footage show the aftermath of the explosion, with an initial mushroom cloud and the roof of the headquarters being damaged.
While Russian media initially reported that the building was attacked by a Ukrainian drone, later in the day the head of Russian occupational authorities in Crimea, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said the drone was shot down over the roof of the headquarters, and that the attack was “unsuccessful”.
The authorities also stated that the damage was minimal and there were no casualties.
The attack was preceded by at least several other attempts. LiveUaMap documented at least eight cases of anti-aircraft fire on August 19 and 20, mostly over Western Crimea. Explosions at Bakhchysarai air base, east of Sevastopol, were also reported, although no further information regarding the damage has been revealed.
This was the second alleged drone attack on the naval headquarters in Sevastopol. The first occurred on July 31, 2022, resulting in five casualties and the cancellation of Russia’s Navy Day celebrations in the city.
The drone that struck the building on August 20 appears to be of the same model as the one used in the attack on Russia’s Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery on July 22, 2022. While initially speculated to be a Ukrainian-made PD-2, it was later identified as most likely to be a Skyeye 4450, a commercially available small drone with a payload capacity of 20 kilograms (44 pounds).