Explosions at Russian air base in Crimea, possible attack by Ukraine

According to witnesses, at least twelve explosions could be heard around 4:30 in the afternoon, reports Reuters news agency. Several video images show explosions and large plumes of smoke, allegedly at or around the base occupied by the Russian army.

Images shared on social media show bathers fleeing the beach in a hurry.

Attack or not?

Local authorities report that one person has been killed and five people injured. The Russian defense ministry says it is not an attack by Ukraine, but claims that ammunition went off accidentally. But a Ukrainian official tells the American newspaper The New York Times that the explosions are indeed the result of such an attack.

However, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky later in the day told Ukrainian media that Zelensky’s government is not involved in any way. That writes Reuters news agency. “Of course not, what do we have to do with this?”, the advisor said.

The airport is located near Novofedorivka, a town on the western coast of the Black Sea peninsula. Crimea has been in the hands of Russia since the spring of 2014, which started the Russo-Ukrainian war.

Holy ground for Putin

A Ukrainian attack on Russian forces in the Crimean peninsula would mark a remarkable step in that war. After the 2014 annexation, the last Ukrainian military forces withdrew from the peninsula and the Russian Black Sea Fleet is stationed around Crimea, which Russian President Putin considers ‘holy ground’.

Since then, Ukraine has had few weapons that can reach Crimea. Also, since the Russian invasion that began on February 24, there have been no major battles or bombings in Crimea.

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