Putin in trouble as Ukraine's Crimea attack having ‘major psychological effect’ on leader

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The base of Russia’s elite Black Sea fleet in the occupied peninsula of Crimea came under attack from a drone on Saturday morning. According to reports, an explosion rocked Crimea on Saturday morning, with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) striking the Black Sea Fleet’s HQ in Sevastopol.

Huge plumes of smoke were filmed rising from the city of Sevastopol, where Russia’s naval HQ is based.

This prompted a colossal exodus of panicked residents from the city, as even Russian strongholds came under attack amid its stalled war with Ukraine.

One official said: “Ukraine is now consistently achieving kinetic effects deep behind Russia’s lines.

“We’ve seen this in at least three instances in occupied Crimea, an area which Russia has previously considered a secure base area with a major role in enabling the occupation.

“The incidents have been having a material effect on Russia’s logistics support, but as importantly, there’s a significant psychological effect on the Russian leadership.”

It’s been almost six month since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine.

But the unnamed Western officials said that Russia’s Black Sea fleet has now been diminished to little more than a coastal flotilla and satellite images from the aftermath of the Ukrainians hitting the Russian airbase revealed severe damage.

Russia is facing an increasingly critical shortage of stocks, even of basic munition, as well as manpower issues, the Western official stressed.

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They said: “There was a point when there was constant shelling, there was a real high point, particularly around the battle for the Donbas.

“The whole tempo of the campaign has slowed down, partly because both sides have become more conscious that this is a marathon, not a sprint and that expenditure rates and conserving their munitions is important.”

In April, the fleet’s flagship, the cruiser Moskva, was sunk by Ukraine and in June the fleet suffered a huge blow when it was forced to abandon the strategic Snake Island after coming under sustained Ukrainian bombardment.

More than half of the Russian navy’s Black Sea Fleet combat jets were put out of action last week following a string of blasts at the Saky military airfield in western Crimea.

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