A military base in Crimea under Russian control was hit by a series of explosions, which reportedly injured at least two people.
Russian officials said a fire triggered explosions at an arms depot in the Dzhankoi region of northern Crimea. A fire was also observed in a substation.
The cause of the explosions is unclear, but last week Russian warplanes were destroyed in what appeared to be a Ukrainian attack on the Crimean coast.
Ukrainian presidential office adviser Mykhailo Podolyak called the incident “demilitarization in action” and stressed that the explosions were no coincidence.
A Crimean Tatar leader Refat Chubarov also described the explosions as a “blow” that could be heard “far beyond the steppe”.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the fire broke out in a temporary ammunition depot near the village of Maiske and the cause is being investigated.
Rail traffic was also stopped due to track damage.
The ministry said there were no “serious” casualties, but Russia-appointed regional head Sergei Aksyonov visited the site and said 2,000 people were displaced from a nearby village and two people were injured.
Crimea was conquered by Ukraine and annexed by Russia in early 2014, and when Russian forces launched a new invasion in February, they used their bases on the peninsula to seize large parts of southern Ukraine.
The Russian occupation has extended to two southern regions in particular, Kherson and Zaporizhia, and Ukraine has pledged to launch a counter-offensive to retake the areas under Russian control.
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After a Russian air base in Saky was hit last Tuesday, satellite images showed extensive damage, with at least eight fighter jets destroyed. Although Russia said this incident was also accidental, there was no doubt that the base was attacked by Ukraine due to the precise nature of the destruction. The British Ministry of Defense said the explosions had “significantly affected” the aeronautical capability of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet.
The recent explosions at an ammunition depot recall a series of recent attacks behind Russian lines in eastern Ukraine.
According to the Minister of Defense, since June, Ukrainian forces have used several US Himars rocket launchers to conclude up to 50 arms contracts. Bridges to the south were also hit, threatening vital supply lines from Crimea to Kherson.
The apparent ability of the Ukrainian military to penetrate so far behind enemy lines is extremely embarrassing to the Russians. The explosions in Saky were visible from nearby beaches, and videos later posted on social media showed streams of tourists leaving Crimea via a bridge built over the Kerch Strait after Russian Annexation