Black Sea fleet unleashes waves of drones on Ukraine after strike on Russian navy


March 25 (UPI) -- At least 11 people were injured in a Russian drone raid on the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv overnight that also blacked out parts of neighboring Odessa, farther to the west.

Eight of the drones, which were launched from the Black Sea, were shot down, but debris from one sparked a blaze in an apartment building in Mykolaiv's Pechersk district, injuring 11 residents, two of whom were taken to the hospital, Mykolaiv Oblast Gov. Vitalii Kim wrote on social media.

He added that the attack had been preceded by artillery bombardment over a six-hour-period Sunday of the coastal community of Ochakiv, 38 miles southwest of Mykolaiv.

Odessa region military administration head Oleh Kiper said in a social media post that the drone attack had damaged the region's energy infrastructure and that there was no electricity supply in parts of Odessa city. He appealed to people to avoid using power-hungry devices and to limit their electricity use to off-peak hours.

Power utility DTEK confirmed that damage to a high-voltage power facility had forced it to implement "emergency shutdowns" in Odessa city and surrounding areas.

Kiper said drones also attacked the Izmail district, 145 miles southwest of Odessa, damaging port infrastructure.

Izmail, bordering the Danube River, is an important grain export-handling center and home to the Ukrainian Navy.

Ukraine's Southern Defense Forces said that while air defenses had successfully downed eight Iranian-made Shahed UAVs in Mykolaiv and Odessa oblasts, the "hits" on buildings and infrastructure had been unavoidable.

The drone raids followed a missile strike on Russia's Navy's Black Sea fleet in Crimea on Sunday that Kyiv claimed destroyed two landing ships and damaged the main communications center for the fleet and other infrastructure.

The Yamal and Azov were hit while docked at a navy repair facility in the port city of Sevastopol, the Defense Ministry said in a post on X.

Sevastopol city Gov. Mikhail Razvozhayev said one person had been killed and four injured, two of whom were hospitalized, in what he described as "a massive attack" that also damaged residential buildings and transport infrastructure.

Razvozhaev said the city government would provide all necessary support to the relatives of the deceased.

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps hailed the assault on the Russian warships, calling it a "historic moment for Ukraine."

"Putin's continued illegal occupation of Ukraine is exacting a massive cost on Russia's Black Sea Fleet, which is now functionally inactive," he wrote in a post on X.

"Russia has sailed the Black Sea since 1783 but is now forced to constrain its fleet to port. And even there Putin's ships are sinking!"

The world could not "afford" for Ukraine to lose against Russia, he added, pledging that Britain's support for Kyiv "would remain undimmed" in the face of Russian aggression.