Ukrainian forces hit an ammunition dump in Crimea on Saturday, forcing an evacuation of the area and canceling train services, according to information from Russian-backed authorities.
It marks the latest in a series of recent strikes on Russian supplies and critical infrastructure in the Russian-occupied peninsula.
Videos posted on social media and geolocated by CNN shows thick black smoke rising not far from a railway station in the town of Oktiabrske in the center of Crimea. In one of the videos, at least three loud explosions can be heard.
Sergey Aksyonov, the Russian-installed head of the peninsula, said a drone had struck an ammunition storage facility, prompting him to order the evacuation of everyone within a 5-kilometer (about 3-mile) radius, as well as the cancellation of several train services.
There were no initial reports of casualties, he said.
Recent attacks on Crimea: The depot strike comes after a drone attack struck the bridge linking Crimea to Russia in the early hours of Monday morning, causing significant damage to part of the structure carrying road traffic.
On Wednesday, an ammunition dump was hit in the east of the territory, also causing authorities to evacuate thousands of people living nearby. Unconfirmed reports suggested that attack might have been carried out using a Storm Shadow missile.
And on Thursday, one person was killed when a Ukrainian drone struck four administrative buildings in the northwest of Crimea, Russian-backed authorities said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly vowed to retake Crimea, which was declared annexed by Russia in 2014 in violation of international law.
Crimean Tatar official confirms evacuations: The leader of the Crimean Tatar national movement in Ukraine, Refat Chubarov — who is currently working from Ukrainian-controlled territory outside Crimea — said residents of the town, which is Büyük Onlar in the Crimean Tatar language, were ordered to move to another village about 7 miles away after Saturday’s strike.
“Residents of the village of Büyük Onlar, where explosions are intensifying as a result of a strike on the ammunition and military equipment warehouse of the Russian occupation army, are being urgently evacuated to the villages of the district,” Chubarov said.
Chubarov said some residents of Büyük Onlar were ordered by Russians to move to the village of Beşüyli, also called Piatykhatky.
“According to incoming reports from the locals, the strikes hit the following Russian military targets in the village of Büyük Onlar: an ammunition and military equipment depot, an oil storage facility, and a military airfield,” Chubarov added. “Explosions were also reported in the village of Novozuiivka, near Büyük Onlar.”