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Russian Military Bases In Ukraine’s Crimea Hit By Explosions – Video

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An enormous Russian ammunition dump is exploding near a military base in occupied Crimea, some 200km behind the nearest Ukrainian lines.

Video of the site at Azovske, near the town of Dzhankoi, northern Crimea, showed huge blazes as munitions in an area hundreds of square metres wide were detonated, firing rockets off into the air amid thick plumes of black smoke.

Earlier footage filmed from a passing train had shown dozens of BM-21 Grad multiple launch rocket systems present at the site before the blasts.

The Russian ministry of defence said the base had been the victim of a “terrorist attack”. Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-installed leader of Crimea, said that 3,000 people had been evacuated from the area, which was first rocked by explosions at 6am this morning, and that two people had been injured.

An adviser to President Zelensky hinted at Ukrainian involvement. “Morning near Dzhankoi began with explosions,” Mihailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter. “A reminder: Crimea of [its] normal country is about the Black Sea, mountains, recreation and tourism, but Crimea occupied by Russians is about warehouses explosions and high risk of deaths for invaders and thieves. Demilitarization in action.”

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An electricity substation near by was hit in a separate attack and there were reports that a Russian airbase near Simferopol was also burning. Local residents said that they had heard explosions and could see thick plumes of smoke rising from the air base, while air raid sirens sounded overhead.

Anonymous Ukrainian officials briefed the US media that their special forces had attacked the munitions store, although Kyiv has not formally claimed responsibility. It would be highly unusual to confirm a special forces raid hours after it took place, as the team responsible would likely still be behind enemy lines.

Ukrainian officials similarly briefed that special forces had carried out a “spectacular” attack on Russia’s Novofedorivka airbase in Crimea, near the town of Saky, that destroyed at least ten planes last Tuesday, although satellite photos of the aftermath showed large impact craters that suggested missile strikes.

“Moscow itself is admitting that it is unable to protect its military objects: Novofedorivka an Azovske are just the beginning,” Ukraine’s strategic communications centre tweeted today.

The US has said that it has not provided Ukraine with missiles capable of striking so deep into Russian-controlled territory. Kyiv has Neptune long range anti-ship missiles, used to sink the Moskva, but these would have had been adapted for use against land targets and fly through a three-layered Russian air defence to reach Crimea.

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Ukraine’s air force has been targeting Russian anti-aircraft systems with the US-provided AGM-88 anti-radar missiles, which has resulted in radar operators turning off their systems to avoid being hit.

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Ukraine’s armed forces hinted at an air or missile strike by suggesting Russian air defences had failed: “The Russian occupiers have significantly strengthened air defence in the Dzhankoi area recently. But the result can be seen…”

It said Russia had been stockpiling missiles there for an attack on August 24, which is Ukrainian independence day and marks six months since the invasion began.

It listed other targets that had could have been destroyed in the strike: “In the area of the Azovske railway station were 17 armoured fighting vehicles, 10 Gvozdika self-propelled guns, 7 Msta-S self-propelled guns, 2 x Pion self-propelled guns, 3 RSZV BM-21 Grad [multiple launch rocket systems], as well as ammunition. Dzhankoi is a very fat nodal transit target. And this fat target was waiting for its time.”

The Kremlin claimed the destruction at the airbase was caused by an accidental fire.

The strikes are the latest in a string of setbacks for the Russian army in southern Ukraine, after nightly Himars missile strikes rendered the three bridges across the Dnipro river under its control inoperable.

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A spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Southern Command said that Moscow had withdrawn its army commanders from the occupied city of Kherson, on the northwestern bank of the Dnipro, leaving about 10,000 of their men without secure supply lines.

“There’s clear evidence that after the strikes we carried out on the occupying troops’ command centres . . . their command staff is very quickly moving in the direction ‘beyond the bridge’ to ensure it’s not cut off from routes to safer territory,” Natalia Gumenyuk said.

Photo Credit: Getty

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