Zelenskyy: War begins and ends with Crimea

Zelenskyy: War begins and ends with Crimea

According to Ukrainian sources, at least ten aircraft were destroyed in the explosions at an air force base on the Crimean Black Sea peninsula, which was annexed by Russia.

“After the explosion we saw, it is clear that the Air Force contingent was hit,” Ukrainian Air Force General Staff Spokesperson Yuri Ihnat told TV. According to Ihnat, Sukhoi Su-30M and Su-24 combat aircraft and Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft are stationed there.

The Saki military base in Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, was hit hard by explosions on Tuesday. Videos show the detonations took place in at least two different places. According to official information from Moscow, a violation of fire safety rules is responsible for the incident.

Many observers, on the other hand, assume a Ukrainian attack. The leadership in Kyiv did not claim responsibility for the blasts. However, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak wrote on Twitter: “This is just the beginning.”

Zelenskyy: War begins and ends with Crimea

With annexation in 2014, Russia turned Crimea into one of the most dangerous places in Europe, Zelenskyy said in his nightly video speech. “The Black Sea region cannot be safe while Crimea is occupied,” he said. “This Russian war against Ukraine, against all free Europe, started with Crimea and must end with Crimea, with its liberation.”

So far, the Russian Defense Ministry has cited a breach of fire safety rules as the most likely cause of the incident. Experts suspect that this version is being presented for image reasons. Moscow does not want to admit its vulnerability to Ukrainian weapons systems, he said.

The New York Times also reported on a Ukrainian attack. A Ukrainian-developed weapon was used, the newspaper quoted a Ukrainian military official as saying. Ukraine’s loyalists also played a role in the attack.

It would be the first military strike on targets on the annexed Black Sea peninsula. Symbolically, it would be as heavy a blow to Moscow’s leadership as the sinking of the cruiser Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, in mid-April.

Authorities declare local emergency

Since then, authorities have declared a state of emergency in the district. According to Russian news agency Interfax, Crimea’s head of administration Sergey Aksyonov said at least 252 residents of the nearby resort town of Nowofyodorovka will be resettled in emergency shelters. The gas supply to two cities was therefore temporarily interrupted.

According to official information, at least one person died in the blasts and 14 people were injured.

Aksyonov promised the owners of the damaged houses compensation between 10,000 and 100,000 rubles (equivalent to 166 to 1660 euros). According to Aksyonov, criminal investigations into the explosions are ongoing.