The war in Ukraine reached as far as Crimea and into the heart of Russia’s peninsular defenses. An important air base, a bridge for the activities of Vladimir Putin’s fleet in the Black Sea, was damaged by several explosions, some of them very powerful and felt tens of kilometers away. Also one fatality and seven injured including two children. For Moscow, it was a simple incident at an ammunition depot. Kyiv officially denied knowing the cause of the blasts, but Ukrainian military sources said it was their attack. “This is just the beginning,” tweeted Mykhailo Podolyak, Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s right-hand man. A quiet day on Crimea’s beaches crowded with Russian tourists was therefore abruptly interrupted by a series of explosions that witnesses said at least 12 had warned in the Saki district near a Russian military airfield. Imposing columns of black smoke were immortalized by the videos posted on social media by the fleeing bathers. According to the first fragmentary news circulated by local pro-Russian officials, the Moscow Defense Ministry announced that the explosions took place at an ammunition depot in the area of the military base near the village of Novofedorovka, which is also used for naval aircraft. . And that it was not a deliberate attack, but an accident caused by the explosion of a munition, was noted in the note, but without clarifying the cause of the detonations.
Moscow, Munitions explosion at a base in Crimea: Slight injuries but no injuries
In Kyiv, the official version entrusted to the Ministry of Defense is that “the causes of the fire on the territory of Saki airport are not known.” But a senior military official told the New York Times it was an attack to “hit an airbase from which planes regularly departed to meet our troops in the southern theater of war.” Shortly thereafter came the tweet from Presidential Advisor Podolyak, which sounded like a statement of fact. “The future of Crimea will be a pearl of the Black Sea, a national park with unique nature and a world tourist center. No military base for terrorists,” Zelenskyy’s closest man wrote. End the message with a warning to the enemy: “This is just the beginning”. If this were indeed a Ukrainian incursion, it would be a significant escalation of the conflict and a first full-scale attack on a territory Putin considers sacred and which became an integral part of Russia after the 2014 annexation. A drone exploded at the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the port of Sevastopol, injuring six people but causing little damage, and in this case the Ukrainians had denied responsibility. The effect of an attack on the Saky air base, which is about 200 kilometers behind the front in southern Ukraine, had a completely different effect. This suggests that the Ukrainians may have used powerful and accurate weapons. Weakening enemy defenses in Crimea would make sense in Kyiv to consolidate the counteroffensive on Kherson while the Russians remain concentrated in Donbass, where they continue to gain ground, albeit slowly: only 10 km in a month, according to the British Intelligence. In this regard, Moscow could use an Iranian satellite, the Khayyam, which has just been launched from Kazakhstan, to better monitor its military objectives and the movements of Ukrainian troops. Tehran has assured that the satellite will always remain under its control for civilian purposes, but according to several Western 007 broadcasters quoted by the Washington Post, “Russia plans to use the satellite for several months or more” to aid its war effort, before Iran is allowed to take control.
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