Strong explosions rocked a Russian air base in Crimea on Tuesday, in what may represent an escalation of the war in Ukraine. At least one person died and others were injured.according to the authorities.
The Russian Defense Ministry denied that the Saki base on the Black Sea had been hit, saying munitions had exploded there. However, in Ukrainian social networks there was speculation that it had been hit by long-range Ukrainian missiles.
Strong explosions at the Russian Novofedorivka airbase in Crimea
There were numerous loud explosions. The Ministry of Defense attributed them to explosions of stored aviation ammunition. pic.twitter.com/FlhWgtxfMA
– The Marquis of Zorreras (@EZorreras)
August 9, 2022
Videos posted on social media showed sunbathers on a nearby beach fleeing as huge flames and plumes of smoke rose over the horizon from multiple locations, accompanied by loud bangs. The Crimea Today News reported on Telegram that witnesses they reported a fire on a runway and damage to nearby houses as a result of dozens of explosions.
The Russian state news agency Tass reported that an unnamed ministerial source said the main cause of the explosions appeared to be a “violation of fire safety requirements.” The ministry said no warplanes were damaged.
During the war, Russia has reported numerous fires and explosions at ammunition depots on its territory near the Ukrainian border, attributing some of them to Ukrainian attacks. Ukrainian authorities have not commented on these incidents.
If the Ukrainian forces were responsible for the explosions at the airbase, that would represent the first known major attack on a Russian military site on the Crimean peninsulawhich Russia annexed in 2014. A smaller explosion last month at the Russian Black Sea fleet headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol was blamed on Ukrainian saboteurs using a drone.
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