Explosions Rock Russian Air Base In Crimea

A series of significant explosions were reported at a Russian air base on the occupied Crimean Peninsula on Tuesday afternoon, although neither Russia or Ukraine officially claimed it as an attack.

Russia’s defense ministry confirmed that there had been explosions at Saki air base, but claimed that an accident caused a fire and subsequent explosions involving several aircraft bombs, with no aircraft damaged or individuals injured. However, the Russia-installed governor of Crimea, Sergey Akysonov, subsequently reported that one person had been killed.


While Kyiv has yet to issue an official statement on the events, a senior Ukrainian military official who spoke to the New York Times on condition of anonymity said Ukrainian forces were indeed responsible for the attack. However, the official declined to provide further details beyond that “a device exclusively of Ukrainian manufacture was used” to attack the air base.

The attack on the air base spurred speculation following initial reports from the area of explosions, as Ukraine had not been previously known to possess systems able to strike Russian targets so far behind current frontlines. Saki is over 200 kilometers away from the closest known Ukrainian positions, placing it out of range of most missile or rocket systems known to be in Ukrainian service.


The attack does, however, have precedent in a 31 July drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol that Moscow blames on Ukraine, with the attack claimed to have injured five and forcing the cancellation of Navy Day celebrations planned for later that day. Kyiv has so far declined to comment on the Russian account of the 31 July attack.


The air base attack also follows reports of another Ukrainian long-range strike on a Russian ammunition depot earlier on Tuesday. An ammunition depot in the vicinity of the town of Novooleksiivka in Kherson Oblast was struck by apparent Ukrainian fire, with stored ordnance scattered over fields following explosions at the depot.