Blowing up the Russian Black Sea Fleet HQ has boosted the morale of Ukrainian soldiers, says top general

  • On Friday, a Ukrainian missile hit the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.

  • Ukraine's latest blow to the fleet's warships and facilities gave soldiers a morale boost.

  • "It gives us hope," Oleksandr Tarnavsky, the general leading the counteroffensive in the south, told CNN.

A Friday strike on the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Crimea was an important move to boost the morale of Ukrainian armed forces, a top Ukrainian general told CNN.

Oleksandr Tarnavsky, the Ukrainian general leading the counteroffensive on the country's southern front line, said recent blows to Russia's Black Sea Fleet's ships and facilities have been significant to Kyiv's counteroffensive strategy.

"It helps us, but it also gives us hope for the future," he said.

The strike that hit the Russian Black Sea Fleet's HQ on Friday was the latest in a series of attacks that were "all orchestrated as part of a sophisticated, multi-domain counteroffensive" aimed at making Crimea "untenable" for Russia, as experts previously told Insider.

Ukrainian spy chief Kyrylo Budanov reported that two top Russian leaders were "severely wounded" in the attack, and videos shared online showed heavy smoke coming out of the Sevastopol building.

Budanov hinted that Ukraine had plans to retake the occupied peninsula of Crimea in an interview with The War Zone, published on Saturday.


This week, the Black Sea Fleet also suffered blows to one of its naval infantry brigades, which was rendered "combat-ineffective" for the second time since the beginning of the war, according to US think tank Institute for the Study of War.

"The success of offensive operations is not only about destroying the enemy in front of you, it's also about destroying places of concentration of equipment, personnel and especially destroying the command centers," Tarnavsky said in the CNN interview.

The general also said his troops had broken near the city of Verbove in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region and that they continued to advance further.

It is the latest move in a weeks-long effort to penetrate Russia's southern line of defense. On Wednesday, Ukrainian troops breached Russia's main defensive line with armored vehicles for the first time.

Despite recent successes, Kiyv still has a hard fight ahead, analysts told Insider.

"It remains to be seen whether or not they can get there and consolidate the foothold in order to push the Russians back," Marina Miron, a researcher at the Department of War Studies at King's College London, told Insider on Wednesday.

Tarnavsky recognized that his troops were not moving slower than expected in the grinding counteroffensive.

"Not as fast as it was expected, not like in the movies about the Second World War," he said.

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