A woman looks at a civilian’s car shot at by Russian forces exhibited at Mykhailivs’ka Square along with damaged Russian military equipment as a symbol of Ukraine’s resistance against the invasion in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, July 30, 2022. According to a plaque displayed by the National Museum of the Military History of Ukraine, the family was evacuating from Bucha when Russian troops opened fire on their convoy injuring two people. (AP Photo)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A small explosive device carried by a makeshift drone blew up Sunday at the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean Peninsula, wounding six people and prompting the cancellation of ceremonies there honoring Russia’s navy, authorities said.

Meanwhile, one of Ukraine’s richest men, a grain merchant, was killed in what Ukrainian authorities said was a carefully targeted Russian missile strike on his home.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the drone explosion in a courtyard at the naval headquarters in the city of Sevastopol. But the seemingly improvised, small-scale nature of the attack raised the possibility that it was the work of Ukrainian insurgents trying to drive out Russian forces.

A Russian lawmaker from Crimea, Olga Kovitidi, told Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti that the drone was launched from Sevastopol itself. She said the incident was being treated as a terrorist act, the news agency said.

Crimean authorities raised the terrorism threat level for the region to “yellow,” the second-highest tier.

Sevastopol, which was seized along with the rest of Crimea from Ukraine by Russia in 2014, is about 170 kilometers (100 miles) south of the Ukrainian mainland. Russian forces control much of the mainland along the Black Sea.RUSSIA-UKRAINE WARSpain’s PM offers support for North Macedonia’s EU candidacyEx-Putin adviser Chubais reported to be in European hospitalUkraine war hangs over UN meeting on nukes treaty’s legacyGermany argues over nuclear shutdown amid gas supply worries

The Black Sea Fleet’s press service said the drone appeared to be homemade. It described the explosive device as “low-power.” Sevastopol Mayor Mikhail Razvozhaev said six people were wounded. Observances of Russia’s Navy Day holiday were canceled in the city.

Ukraine’s navy and an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the reported drone attack underlined the weakness of Russian air defenses.

“Did the occupiers admit the helplessness of their air defense system? Or their helplessness in front of the Crimean partisans?” Oleksiy Arestovich said on Telegram.

If such an attack is possible by Ukraine, he said, “the destruction of the Crimean bridge in such situations no longer sounds unrealistic” — a reference to the span that Russia built to connect its mainland to Crimea after the annexation.

In this satellite photo provided by Maxar Technologies, a view of the Olenivka detention center, in Eastern Donetsk province, after an attack on the prison reportedly killed Ukrainian soldiers captured in May after the fall of Mariupol, a Black Sea port city where troops and the Azov Regiment of the national guard famously held out against a months-long Russian siege. Separatist authorities and Russian officials said the attack killed 53 Ukrainian POWs and wounded another 75. (Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies via AP)

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the mayor of the major port city of Mykolaiv, Vitaliy Kim, said shelling killed one of Ukraine’s wealthiest men, Oleksiy Vadatursky, and his wife, Raisa. Vadatursky headed a grain production and export business.

Another presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said 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 hit of a rocket was not just in a house, but in a specific wing, the bedroom, leaves no doubt about aiming and adjusting the strike,” he said.

Vadatursky’s agribusiness, Nibulon, includes a fleet of ships for sending grain abroad.

In the Sumy region in Ukraine’s north, near the Russian border, shelling killed one person, the regional administration said. And three people died in attacks over the past day in the Donetsk region, which is partly under the control of Russian-backed separatist forces, said regional Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko.

Podolyak said on Twitter that images of the prison where at least 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed in an explosion on Friday indicated that the blast came from within the building in Olenivka, which is under Russian control.

Russian officials have claimed the building was attacked by Ukraine with the aim of silencing POWs who might be giving information about Ukrainian military operations. Ukraine has blamed Russia for the explosion, saying it was done to cover up the torture and execution of prisoners.

Satellite photos taken before and after show that a small, squarish building in the middle of the prison complex was demolished, its roof in splinters.

Podolyak said those images and the lack of damage to adjacent structures showed that the building was not attacked from the air or by artillery. He contended the evidence was consistent with a thermobaric bomb, a powerful device sometimes called a vacuum bomb, being set off inside.

The International Red Cross asked to immediately visit the prison to make sure the scores of wounded POWs had proper treatment, but said Sunday that its request had yet to be granted. It said that denying the Red Cross access would violate the Geneva Convention on the rights of POWs.

Meanwhile, Zelenskyy said that the war has significantly reduced the size of Ukraine’s grain harvest compared with past years, but that Ukraine is working on ways to export what it has to avoid a global food crisis.

“The Ukrainian harvest this year is in danger of being half as large,” he said on Twitter.

Russia and Ukraine recently reached an agreement that would allow the release of millions of tons of grain held up in Black Sea ports. Officials have said they expect the shipments to begin soon.

___

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India boosts military presence as
border talks with China remain stalled


On volatile border between India and China, a high-altitude military buildup is underway

0003

A close-up of a heliport under construction in Rutog County.

0001

On volatile border between India and China, a high-altitude military buildup is underway

0004

Construction crews are now scattered around Ladakh as Indian authorities speed up their infrastructure race with China.

0005

An overview of a heliport under construction near Aksai Chin Lake, in a region administered by China but contested by India, on May 28.

0002

An overview of a heliport under construction in Rutog County in the Ngari Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, on Nov. 28.

0003 0001 0004 0005 0002

BEIJING’S ISLAND-BUILDING IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA

Runway

Runway

China is expanding the construction of its facilities on Fiery Cross Reef. Provided by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), this June 28, 2015 photo reveals Beijing has nearly completed a 3,000 meter (9,800-foot) airstrip, long enough to accommodate most Chinese military aircraft. Two h...

Expansion

Expansion

Reclamation on Fiery Cross Reef, which lies on the west side of the Spratly Islands, began in August of 2014 and its principal landmass was finished by November. Dredgers have created a land mass that spans the entire existing reef and is approximately 3,000 meters long and 200-300 meters wide.

Facilities

Facilities

This picture taken last November shows construction work being carried out on Fiery Cross Reef. The reef reportedly already houses a helicopter landing pad, a 300-meter-long wharf, a harbor large enough to dock military tankers, barracks and artillery emplacements.

South Johnson Reef

South Johnson Reef

This reef was one of the first facilities to finish principal land reclamation. This recent picture shows that a radar tower is nearing completion at the north end of the land mass. According to AMTI, a new large multi-level military facility has been built in the center of the island. Up to six sur...

A naval base?

A naval base?

Beginning in early 2015, Mischief Reef - also located in the Spratlys - has undergone extensive reclamation activity. Experts say that the recent widening of the southern entrance to the reef, coupled with sightings of Chinese navy vessels, may suggest a future role for the reclaimed reef as a naval...

From reef to island

From reef to island

Significant construction on Gaven Reef began in 2014, with a total of 114,000 square meters of land already created. Satellite pictures show just how fast construction has progressed on the reef. A new artificial island was created between March (left) and August (right) 2014.

Troop garrison

Troop garrison

According to AMTI, China has had a troop garrison on Gaven Reef since 2003, which has included a large supply platform where ships can dock. Experts say a new main square building in the reef appears to be an anti-aircraft tower.

A standardized process

A standardized process

As seen in this image, the basic process of expanding these features involves dredging sand from the seafloor and dumping it onto the reefs. The structure is raised above the high water line, hiding the status of the bank or reef beneath. The sand is then smoothed out and workers surround the island...

'Historic rights'

'Historic rights'

China claims most of the potentially energy-rich waterway, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The US Pacific Fleet commander recently said China was "creating a great wall of sand" in the South China Sea, causing serious concerns about its territorial intentions. Beijin...

Territorial disputes

Territorial disputes

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims, which have led to territorial disputes in the area. Last summer, China's deployment of a massive oil rig in waters also claimed by Hanoi escalated tensions in the region, sparking a standoff at sea and violent anti-C...

US concerns

US concerns

Washington is concerned China's efforts carry a military dimension that could undermine the US' naval and economic power in the Pacific, and has weighed sending warships and surveillance aircraft within 12 nautical miles of the new artificial islands. Washington has repeatedly called on Beijing and ...

Ecological impact

Ecological impact

The Philippines filed a formal plea at the UN last year, challenging Beijing's territorial claims. Manila said China's reclamation activities are causing "irreversible and widespread damage to the biodiversity and ecological balance of the South China Sea." It also claimed that the destruction of co...

Runway Expansion Facilities South Johnson Reef A naval base? From reef to island Troop garrison A standardized process 'Historic rights' Territorial disputes US concerns Ecological impact

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