Two attacks on Russian military bases in Crimea in the past week have boosted Ukrainian morale and pressured Russia eight years after Moscow’s humiliating annexation of the peninsula.
As the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday, an “act of sabotage” resulted in a series of explosions in an ammunition depot near the village of Dzhankoi and damage to a railway.
The Ukrainian authorities did not claim responsibility for this attack, but the President’s Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak spoke on Twitter of a “demilitarization action” by the Ukrainian armed forces, using the same terminology that Russia uses to justify the invasion.
The incident came a week after another attack on a Russian airbase in Crimea, described as a “wellprepared special mission” by a Ukrainian official, who declined to give his name.
For analyst Oliver Alexander, these attacks, which he believes were carried out with ballistic missiles, are undermining Russian morale and raising spirits on the Ukrainian side.
“Crimea has been a relatively safe place for the past six months, but that is no longer the case. That increased the pressure on the Russians,” Alexander explained.
Concerns are also growing among Russian tourists visiting the region known for its beaches.
The advisor to the Ukrainian Presidency, Mikhailo Podoliak, on the other hand, called for the “dismantling” of the Kerch Bridge, which opened in 2018 and connects Russia to the peninsula from the east. This increases fears in Moscow that it could become a legitimate military target.
The Institute for War Research in Washington, USA, said the target of Tuesday’s attack was a key supply center for Russian troops in southern Ukraine.
Experts say last week’s attacks were part of a “coherent Ukrainian counteroffensive” that cut off supply lines along the Dnieper.
Ukraine says it regained control of dozens of villages on the southern front and destroyed strategic points like bridges.
There were also explosions in cities occupied by Russian troops, believed to have been carried out by saboteurs.
On Wednesday (17th), Ivan Fedorov, mayor of Melitopol, a Russianheld town near the Crimean peninsula, said two blasts had disrupted Russian television.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said these actions worried Russian commanders in Crimea because the peninsula is acting “as a rear base” for the offensive.
In the first hours of the invasion, Russia used the peninsula to advance into southern Ukraine and seize control of Kherson, Ukraine’s largest city.
This also allowed Russia to create a land corridor between southern and eastern Ukraine, which had been controlled by proRussian rebels since the prewar period.
As the conflict progresses, not only are many Ukrainians content with regaining preinvasion positions, they also want Crimea.
“Most citizens of the terror state [Rússia] They are beginning to understand that Crimea is not a place for them,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily message on Tuesday.