Ukraine says 9 Russian warplanes destroyed in Crimean blasts world News

Ukraine said on Wednesday that nine Russian warplanes were destroyed in deadly explosions at an airport in Crimea, which appears to be the result of a Ukrainian attack that would represent a significant escalation in the war.

Russia denied that any planes were damaged or attacked in Tuesday’s blasts. But satellite images clearly show that at least seven fighter jets were shot down at the base and others were probably damaged.

Ukrainian officials stopped publicly claiming responsibility for the explosions, while ridiculing Russia’s explanation that a careless smoker caused ammunition to catch fire and blow up at Saki airport. Analysts also said that the explanation made no sense and that the Ukrainians could have used anti-ship missiles to strike the base.

If Ukrainian forces were, in fact, responsible for the blasts, it would be the first known major attack on a Russian military site on the Crimean peninsula, which was seized from Ukraine by the Kremlin in 2014. Russian warplanes have used Saki to attack areas. in the south of Ukraine.

Crimea is of great strategic and symbolic importance to both sides. The Kremlin’s demand that Ukraine recognize Crimea as part of Russia has been one of its key conditions for ending the fighting, while Ukraine vowed to remove the Russians from the peninsula and all other occupied territories. Is.

The blast, which killed one person and injured 14, sent tourists into panic as plumes of smoke rose over the nearby beach. The video shows broken windows and holes in the brickwork of some buildings.

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One tourist, Natalia Lipovaya, said that “the earth moved from under my feet” after the powerful explosions. “I was so scared,” she said.

A local resident, Sergei Milochinsky, recalled hearing the roar and seeing a mushroom cloud from his window. “Everything began to fall, collapsed,” he said.

Crimea’s regional leader, Sergei Aksyonov, said about 250 residents had been moved to temporary housing after dozens of apartment buildings were damaged.

Russian officials tried to play down the blasts on Wednesday, saying all hotels and beaches were unaffected on the peninsula, which is a popular tourist destination for many Russians. But videos posted on social media showed long lines of cars moving slowly on the road to Russia as tourists headed home.

Oleksey Erestovich, an adviser to the President of Ukraine, said secretly that the explosions were caused by either Ukrainian-made long-range weapons or the work of Ukrainian guerrillas operating in Crimea.

A Ukrainian parliamentarian, Oleksandr Zavitnevich, said the airspace had become unusable. He told on Facebook that there are fighter jets, tactical reconnaissance aircraft and military transport aircraft.

Satellite images released Wednesday by Planet Labs PBC showed debris in the airspace where several warplanes were visible from the company’s photos a day earlier.

“Official Kyiv has kept quiet about it, but unofficially the military has admitted it was a Ukrainian strike,” said Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov.

The base is at least 200 kilometers (about 125 mi) from the nearest Ukrainian position. Zhdanov suggested that the Ukrainian military could hit it with Ukrainian or Western-supplied anti-ship missiles, which have the required range.

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The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said it could not independently determine what caused the explosions, but noted that simultaneous explosions at two locations on the base ruled out possible accidental fires, but Not sabotage or missile attack.

But it added: “The Kremlin has little incentive to accuse Ukraine of carrying out the attack, which caused damage because such an attack would demonstrate the ineffectiveness of Russian air defense systems.”

During the war, the Kremlin has reported several fires and explosions in Russian territory near the Ukrainian border, blaming some of them on Ukrainian attacks. Ukrainian officials have mostly kept quiet about the incident, preferring to keep the world guessing.

Neither side has released further details about their own casualties. In his nightly video address on Wednesday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that around 43,000 Russian soldiers had been killed.

US Deputy Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl estimated Monday that the Russian military sustained 80,000 deaths and injuries in the fighting. He did not dissect the figure with an estimate of the forces killed or with providing the number of Ukrainian casualties.

In other developments, Russian forces shelled areas in Ukraine from Tuesday night to Wednesday, including the central region of Dnipropetrovsk, where 13 people were killed, according to the region’s governor, Valentin Reznichenko.

Reznichenko said the Russians opened fire in the town of Marganets and a nearby village. Dozens of residential buildings, two schools and several administrative buildings were damaged.

“It was a terrible night,” said Reznichenko. “It is very difficult to get the dead bodies out from under the rubble. We are facing a brutal enemy who indulges in daily terror against our cities and villages.”

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In the east of Ukraine, where fighting has been going on for eight years, a Russian attack on Bakhmut town center in the Donetsk region killed seven people, wounded six and set shops, homes and apartment buildings on fire, Ukraine’s prosecutor said. The general told the Telegraph. Bakhmut is a major target for Russian forces as they advance on regional centres.

In the city of Donetsk, which has been under Russian-backed separatists control since 2014, Ukrainian shelling hit a brewery, killing one person and wounding two, the separatists’ emergency service said. It said late Wednesday night shelling leaked toxic ammonia and warned people to stay inside and breathe cotton gauze.

Two residents of Stary Saltiv village in the Kharkiv region in the northeast were killed in Russian shelling on Wednesday, police said.

In the country’s southeast, Moscow’s military continued to shell Europe’s largest nuclear plant, the city of Nikopol, across the Dnieper River from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya Power Station. Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of shelling, raising fears of devastation internationally.

On Wednesday, foreign ministers of the Group of Seven Industrial Democracies demanded that Russia immediately hand over full control of the plant to Ukraine. They said they are “seriously concerned” about the risk of far-reaching consequences of the nuclear accident.