The Kremlin denied any deaths, injuries and aircraft damage. And he attributed the explosions to an accident. But photos, videos, and assessment from local officials from the scene told another story.
Ukraine said on Wednesday that nine Russian warplanes were destroyed in a series of deadly explosions at an airbase in Crimea. This seemed to be the result of an attack that would represent a significant escalation in the war.
But Kyiv did not take responsibility, only mocking Russia’s statement that a careless smoker could cause ammunition to catch fire and explode at Saki airbase. Analysts also said that the explanation did not make sense and that the Ukrainians may have used anti-ship missiles to attack.
Russia has denied that any aircraft were damaged or that any attacks took place. But videos from the scene and assessment by local officials declaring a state of emergency told a very different story. at least one person was killed, more than a dozen others were injured and hundreds were taken to shelters. More than 60 apartments were damaged, along with 20 other buildings. officials said.
Satellite photos clearly showed craters, burn marks and at least eight warplanes were destroyed.
If Ukrainian forces were really responsible for the explosions, This will be the first known major attack on a Russian military site on the Crimean peninsula. The Kremlin captured Ukraine in 2014. Russian warplanes used Saki to attack areas in southern Ukraine.
Crimea is of great strategic and symbolic importance for both sides. The Kremlin’s demand for Ukraine to recognize Crimea as part of Russia was one of the key conditions for ending the war, while Ukraine promised to expel the Russians from the peninsula and all other occupied territories.
Explosions that killed one person and injured 14, Smoke clouds rose over the nearby coastline, causing tourists to flee in panic . The video shows broken windows and holes in the bricks of some buildings.
One tourist, Natalia Lipovaya, said: after violent eruptions, it was “raised from under the earth”. “I was so scared,” he said.
A local resident, Sergey Milochinsky, recalled hearing a roar and seeing a mushroom cloud through his window. “Everything started to collapse, collapse” aforementioned.
regional leader of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov said that after dozens of apartments were damaged, as many as 250 residents were moved to temporary housing.
Russian officials tried to downplay the blasts in a statement Wednesday. not all hotels and beaches on the peninsula were affected , a popular tourist destination for many Russians. But a video posted on social media showed long lines of cars slowly moving on the highway to Russia as tourists were heading home.
a Ukrainian presidential adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych said the explosions were caused by Ukrainian-made long-range weapons. or for the work of Ukrainian guerrillas operating in Crimea.
a member of the Ukrainian parliament, Oleksandr Zavitnevich said that the airport has become unusable . It reported on Facebook that it housed warplanes, tactical reconnaissance planes, and military transport planes.
Planet Labs PBC satellite imagery taken Wednesday afternoon It showed about 2 square kilometers of burnt grassland at the bottom of Saki .
Several craters marked the ground near the track, which is typically a sign of a powerful eruption. The two runways showed no significant damage and still appeared to be in working order. Some warplanes in the flight line had descended further down the runway. compared to footage taken on the Tuesday before the explosion.
The base is home to Russia’s 43rd Independent Naval Air Strike Squadron since Moscow took over Crimea. . team flying Sukhoi Su-24 Y Sukhoi Su-30 . The base also includes a series of earthen bunkers and hangars around it that are often used to house ammunition in the event of a fire. None of them looked damaged.
“Kyiv official has remained silent on this matter, but the military unofficially admits that this was a Ukrainian attack” said Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov.
The base is at least 200 kilometers from the nearest Ukraine location. Zhdanov suggested that Ukrainian forces may have attacked him. Anti-ship missiles supplied by Ukraine or the West has the required range.
this Institute of War Studies A Washington-based official said he could not independently determine what caused the blasts, butHe noted that the simultaneous explosions at two points of the base probably ruled out an accidental fire, but not sabotage or missile attack.
Added: “The Kremlin has little reason to accuse Ukraine of carrying out attacks that cause damage, as such attacks will demonstrate the ineffectiveness of Russian air defense systems.”
during the war andThe Kremlin reported numerous fires and explosions on Russian territory near the Ukrainian border. blames some of them for the Ukraine attacks. Ukrainian authorities remained mostly silent about the events, preferring to keep the world tense.
Neither side released much information about their respective losses. . Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed in a late night video speech on Wednesday that around 43,000 Russian soldiers were killed.
Colin Kahl, the U.S. Undersecretary for Defense Policy, said on Monday, Russian forces killed and wounded about 80,000 in the fighting. His figure did not provide an estimate of the forces killed or a Ukrainian casualty count.
In other developments, Russian forces bombarded areas in Ukraine from Tuesday night to Wednesday Including the central Dnipropetrovsk region, where 13 people were killed, according to the regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko.
Reznichenko said that the Russians opened fire on the city of Marganets and a nearby town. . Dozens of residences, two schools and many administrative buildings were damaged.
“It was a terrible night” said Reznichenko. “It’s very difficult to pull bodies out from under the rubble. We face a ruthless enemy who terrorizes our cities and towns every day.”
In eastern Ukraine, where conflicts have been ongoing for eight years, In the Russian attack on the city center of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, seven people were killed, six were injured, and shops, houses and apartments were damaged. , caused the fires, said Ukraine’s prosecutor general. Telegram. Bakhmut is a key target for Russian forces as they enter regional hubs.
Two residents of Staryi Saltiv village in the region Kharkov He was killed in Russian airstrikes on Wednesday in the northeast, police said.
In the southeast of the country, Moscow forces continued to bombard the city of Nikopol. from the power station along the Dnieper River Zaporizhzhia It is occupied by the Russians, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Ukraine and Russia accused each other of bombing, fueling international fears of disaster.
Wednesday, Foreign ministers from the group of seven industrialized democracies demanded that Russia immediately return full control of the plant to Ukraine. . They said they were “deeply concerned” about the risk of a nuclear accident with far-reaching consequences.
The UN Security Council has scheduled an open meeting on Thursday at Russia’s request. About what he claims were the Ukrainian attacks on the Zaporizhzhia facility. Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who said last week that the situation at the plant was “totally out of control”, was expected to brief the council.
Source: Info Bae