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HomeWorldExplosions hit the Russian military airbase in annexed Crimea

Explosions hit the Russian military airbase in annexed Crimea

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Russian Air base blast
People rest on a beach as smoke and flames rise after a series of explosions at a Russian military airbase in Crimea [Stringer/Reuters]

One person has been killed and several others wounded in an explosion at a military airbase in the Russian-controlled Crimean Peninsula.

The explosions were caused by the detonation of several aviation ammunition stores and Russia’s Ministry of Defence clarified that there has been no attack. And no aviation equipment had been damaged, Al Jazeera reported.

Several unverified videos on social media showed the sunbathers fleeing a nearby beach as huge clouds of smoke from the explosions rose over the horizon. Crimea’s health department said that one civilian had been killed and another eight injured.

The head of Crimea’s administration Sergey Aksyonov said that the ambulances and medical helicopters were sent to the Saki airbase and the area was sealed off within a radius of five kilometres (three miles).

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy did not directly mention the blasts in his daily video address on Tuesday but said it was right that people were focusing on Crimea, reported Al Jazeera.

“We will never give it up… the Black Sea region cannot be safe while Crimea is occupied,” he said, reiterating Kyiv’s position that Crimea would have to be returned to Ukraine.

Ukraine’s defence ministry earlier issued a statement in a heavily suggestive tone reminiscent of its response to unexplained blasts on Russian territory, saying it “once again draws attention to fire safety rules”.

If the base was, in fact, struck by the Ukrainians, it would mark the first known major attack on a Russian military site on the Crimean Peninsula and a significant escalation of the conflict.

The Saki base has been used by Russian warplanes to attack areas in Ukraine’s south on short notice. Crimea borders the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, now controlled by Moscow, according to Al Jazeera.

Earlier, the Ukrainian troops launched an attack against the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant using an Uragan multiple rocket launcher, with shrapnel and a rocket engine falling 400 meters (1,312 feet) from the station’s operating power unit, the military and civil administration of the city of Enerhodar told Sputnik.

“Tonight, the Ukrainian armed forces carried out a strike using a 220-millimetre Uragan rocket launcher,” an administration spokesperson said.

The missile unfolded and released shrapnel warheads as it approached the power units, the spokesperson noted. Russia launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, which the West has termed an unprovoked war.

As a result of this, the Western countries have also imposed several crippling sanctions on Moscow.

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