Ukraine launches huge attack on Russian naval port just before Putin meets Kim

Ukraine staged a devastating attack on a key Russian naval base just hours before Vladimir Putin shook hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

At least 24 people have been injured and two warships were reportedly damaged as a barrage of missiles rained down on Sevastopol port on Wednesday morning.

Blistering strikes sparked as many as seven massive explosions and a shipyard went up in flames after the port in annexed Crimea was bombarded.

Terrifying footage filmed from residents nearby showed multiple blasts and huge flashes of light over the city, which is the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

The Russian defence ministry said ten cruise missiles hit the port – also known by the name Ordzhonikidze – and claimed that seven had been shot down.

A strategically important ship building and repair yard was engulfed in flames, while a power plant and other Black Sea naval facilities also appeared to be hit.

It marks the biggest attack on Sevastopol since Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

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The strikes also came as the Russian president was due to meet with Kim Jong Un to seek new ammunition supplies which have drained over the last 18 months of the war.

Putin and Mr Kim met at Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia’s far east today, where the time is seven hours ahead of Sevastopol.

Both leaders were expected to inspect the cosmodrome and then sit down for talks, Russian state media reported.

It’s thought that for Mr Kim, it is a chance to get around crippling UN sanctions and years of diplomatic isolation, as he seeks economic aid and military technology.

While the pair met, emergency work continued at the scene of the attack on the port Putin uses as a main hub for strikes on Ukraine.

Russian officials admitted two ships undergoing repair were ‘damaged’ but did not identify the vessels – they also said three kamikaze sea drones were destroyed by the patrol ship Vasily Bykov.

Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Putin-appointed governor of occupied Sevastopol, said: ‘I am at the scene of a fire on the southern site of Sevmorzavod [Sevastopol Shipyard]. 

‘All operational services are working on the spot, there is no danger to civilian facilities in the city.

‘As a result of the attack, according to preliminary information, a total of 24 people were injured, four are in a moderate condition.

‘All necessary assistance to the victims is provided in full.’

Describing the strikes, which came at 3.18am local time, one eyewitness said ‘This is a f****** nightmare. I live on the northern side, I heard missiles passing over us towards the bay, and the explosions started…

‘Three of four missiles were right over us.’

Another Sevastopol resident said there was ‘a horrendous explosion right outside my window – the sky was on fire’.

‘I woke from three strong explosions… windows were shattered,’ said another.

Another said: ‘My whole block of flats is jumping as our air defence is working.’

One more said: ‘I heard a strong low sound like a missile going in the sky, then a huge flash of flight, a strong explosion, and then three more flashes of light.’

Later, an explosion was heard in the Streletskaya Bay area, although it was unclear if this was a fresh attack or Russian air defences.

Putin did not comment on the carnage in Sevastopol as he arrived to meet Kim, whose officials appeared to be seeking to stop the Russian media from filming him.

‘I’m glad to see you,’ Putin told Kim as they embraced in a handshake – Kim had previously arrived in bizarre red-carpet fashion on a train.

While they were together, North Korea also launched two ballistic missiles towards its eastern seas, once again leaving Japan and South Korea on red alert.

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