A man looks out of an apartment destroyed after Russian shelling in Nikopol, Ukraine, Monday, August 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Kostyantin Liberov)
The bulk carrier Brave Commander sets sail from Pivdenyny seaport near Odessa, Ukraine on Tuesday, August 16, 2022. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure, the ship carries 23,000 tons of Ukrainian wheat under the Lebanese flag. (AP Photo/Nina Lyshonok)
Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) – A massive explosion and fire broke out at a military depot in Russia-linked Crimea on Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of more than 3,000 people, the second time Ukraine has been at war in recent days found. Attention has turned to the disputed peninsula.
Russia attributed the explosions in an ammunition depot in Meskoye to an “act of sabotage” without naming the perpetrators. As with last week’s blasts, he fueled speculation that Ukrainian forces may have invaded the peninsula that Russia has controlled since 2014.
Irrespective of this, the Russian business newspaper Kommersant quoted local residents as saying that plumes of black smoke had also come up at an airport in Gwardskoye in Crimea.
Ukraine has stopped publicly claiming responsibility for fires or explosions that destroyed nine Russian planes at another airport last week. If Ukrainian forces were actually responsible for any explosions, they would have represented a significant escalation of the war.
Videos posted on social media show thick plumes of smoke billowing from the flames in Meskoye, and a series of explosions can be heard in the background. The Russian Defense Ministry said the fire at the depot damaged a power plant, power lines, rails and some apartment buildings. It said in a statement that “no serious injuries have been reported.”
Earlier, Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti reported a fire at a substation after a “loud rumble” from explosions at the depot.
Crimea is of great strategic and symbolic importance for Russia and Ukraine. The Kremlin’s demand that Kyiv recognize the peninsula as part of Russia was one of its key conditions for ending the fighting, while Ukraine vowed to drive the Russians out of the peninsula and all other occupied territories. Is.
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The district where the blast occurred is in the north of the peninsula, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Russian-controlled Kherson region of southern Ukraine. Kyiv recently launched a series of attacks on various locations in the region, targeting supply routes for the Russian military and ammunition depots there.
Last week’s blasts at Saki Airport sent sunbathers to nearby beaches as huge columns of flames and smoke rose over the horizon. Ukrainian officials stressed on Tuesday that Crimea – a popular destination for Russian tourists – will not be spared the ravages of the war in Ukraine.
“The Russian occupation of Crimea is not about a travel destination, it is about warehouse explosions and the high risk of death for intruders and thieves,” Ukraine’s presidential aide Mykhailo Podolik said on Twitter, although he made no connection to the blasts. Ukraine took no responsibility.
Crimea regional leader Sergei Aksyonov said two people were injured and more than 3,000 were evacuated from the villages of Meskoy and Azovskoye near Dzhanakoye. To whom can we give credit for the injured?
As the blasts damaged railroad tracks, some trains in northern Crimea were diverted to other routes.
The Russian military blamed a sudden detonation of munitions for last week’s explosions at Saki airport, but it appears to be the result of a Ukrainian attack.
Ukrainian officials at the time declined to publicly claim responsibility for the blasts, while scoffing at Russia’s statement that an unwary smoker may have set the munitions on fire. Analysts also said the statement made no sense and that the Ukrainians could have used anti-ship missiles to hit the base.
An intelligence report from the British Ministry of Defense stated that ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea’s waters “continued to adopt an extremely defensive attitude”, with the ships hardly being out of sight of the coast.
Russia has already lost its flagship Moskva in the Black Sea and last month the Ukrainian military recaptured the strategic outpost Snake Island off Ukraine’s south-west coast. This is important to ensure the sea routes of Odessa, the largest port in Ukraine.
The “limited effectiveness of the Russian fleet undermines Russia’s overall offensive strategy,” the British statement said. “It means Ukraine can divert resources to suppress Russian ground forces elsewhere.”
Meanwhile, in Donbass, which has been the focus of fighting in recent months, Russian shelling has killed one civilian and wounded two others, according to Pavlo Kirilenko, Ukraine’s governor of Donetsk region.
In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, Russian shelling killed one civilian and injured nine others, regional governor Oleh Sinihubov said. He said the nighttime raid on the city was “one of the largest bombing raids on Kharkiv in recent times.”
Authorities in the central Dnipropetrovsk region also reported the shelling of Nikopol and Krivy Rih districts.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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