Zelenskyy blasts Russia for unconventional ‘weaponizing’ of industries in war
Zelenskyy spoke before the United Nations General Assembly during Tuesday’s session of the High Level Week, focusing his speech on injustices that continue during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calling on members of the U.N. to take action.
Ukraine dealt a significant blow to Russia’s naval power with a devastating strike against the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters, with one serviceman missing after the attack, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
“With a series of carefully calibrated drone attacks over the past several weeks on and around Crimea and deeper into Russia, Ukraine has eroded Putin’s red lines of Russia-proper being off limits for Kyiv’s strikes,” Rebekah Koffler, president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting and a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, told Fox News Digital.
Friday’s attack in Sevastopol was part of a wider assault against Russian assets on the Crimean Peninsula, which remains a disputed territory and chief target for Ukrainian efforts. Reuters reported that a major cyberattack interrupted internet services on the peninsula.
Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that air defense systems shot down five missiles. Officials also initially reported one serviceman had died in the attack but later revised his status to simply “missing.”
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This image taken from UGC video shows smoke rising from the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday Sept. 22, 2023. Ukraine carried out a fiery missile strike Friday on the main headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and one serviceman was missing, the Russian Defense Ministry said. (Crimean Telegram channel via AP)
Sevastopol’s residents said they heard explosions in the skies and saw smoke, Russian news outlets reported. Images circulated in Ukrainian Telegram channels showed clouds of smoke over the seafront.
Mikhail Razvoshayev, the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, reported that the attack caused a massive fire and that residents should avoid the city center while firefighters fight the blaze. Smoke from the fire could be seen from miles away.
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In this handout file photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhaev telegram channel on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, Razvozhaev speaks on the mobile phone as smoke and flame rise from a burning Sevastopol Shipyard in Crimea. On Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, Ukraine carried out a fiery missile strike on the main headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, a Russian official said. (Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhaev telegram channel via AP, File)
He stressed that there have been no reported civilian casualties or damage to civilian infrastructure.
The city has brought in more emergency personnel to fight the blaze, which could indicate the fire remains out of control. A stream of ambulances arrived at the fleet’s headquarters, and shrapnel was scattered for hundreds of yards, the Tass news agency reported.
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Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023 at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Ukraine has not yet taken credit for the attack, but Ukrainian Air Force Commander Gen. Mykola Oleshchuk on Telegram cryptically hinted that Kyiv “told you there’d be more” following today’s strike.
The Ukrainian air force last week hit naval targets and port infrastructure, the BBC reported. Last week’s strike also damaged a Russian submarine and warship.
Koffler argued that the recent strikes, the result of a push to make progress before the weather turns and makes fighting more difficult, has led to “the unthinkable” for Russia – a war on its own front.
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“Zelenskyy wants to keep going, probing Putin’s real red lines and will for a massive retaliation,” she explained. “We are at a very crucial time now in this conflict.”
“It looks like Zelenskyy got assurances from the White House it will indeed maintain a robust level of support for the defense of Ukraine,” she added.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Peter Aitken is a Fox News Digital reporter with a focus on national and global news.