At the same time, Russian forces have been building up their defensive positions across the already heavily militarized peninsula. Satellite photographs published by private firms in recent weeks reveal a growing network of trenches and other fortifications.
On Saturday, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence service said the fire at the fuel depot in Sevastopol was “God’s punishment” for Uman, the city where a Russian missile strike a day earlier killed 23 people, including six children. Two women remain missing, according to the Ukrainian interior minister, Ihor Klymenko.
“This punishment will be long-lasting,” the spokesman, Andriy Yusov, said. “All residents of the temporarily occupied Crimea should not be near military facilities and facilities that supply the aggressor’s army in the near future.”
He claimed that more than 10 tanks with oil products with a total capacity of 40,000 tons were destroyed in Saturday’s blaze. However, the local Russian authorities said that the damage was less extensive and that the fire had been extinguished as of the afternoon. While Mr. Razvozhaev initially said that two drones had hit the fuel depot, he later clarified to say that a second drone had been shot down before it reached the target.
While Ukrainian officials cheer the attacks on Crimea, the military typically does not take credit in order to maintain operational secrecy. Kyiv does not want Moscow to know what long-range weapons it has at its disposal, even as it engages in ambitious fund-raising campaigns to expand its fleet of long-range aerial and maritime drones, officials say.
On Saturday morning, the billowing smoke from the fire at the oil depot on Kazachya Bay could be seen for miles. It was burning an area of about 10,000 square feet, Mr. Razvozhaev said, adding that there would be no evacuation of the local area and fuel supplies for drivers would not be affected.
Russian shelling: A 63-year-old man was killed in his bed and a 14-year-old boy was injured early Saturday morning after shelling hit residential communities along the border of Ukraine’s northern Chernihiv region, the country’s northern military command said.
Further casualties: In Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, shelling in the town of Bilozerka hit a hospital and several private homes, killing a 57-year-old woman in her own home and injuring three more people, the regional military administration said on Friday evening.
Pope in Hungary: Pope Francis visited Ukrainian refugees in Budapest on Saturday, saying he was moved by their commitment to finding “a different future, far from the horrors of war.” He then had what the Vatican’s official outlet called a “cordial” meeting with a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church — a diplomatically sensitive meeting given the church’s close ties to the Kremlin.
Marc Santora reported from Kyiv, Ukraine, and Victoria Kim from Seoul. Anatoly Kurmanaev contributed reporting from Berlin, and Anushka Patil from New York.