Explosions Rip Through Russian Ammo Depot in Crimea

Russia blames an 'act of sabotage'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 16, 2022 5:52 PM CDT
Russia Blames Sabotage for Blasts at Crimea Ammo Depot
In this image taken from video provided by the RU-RTR Russian television on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, smoke rises over the site of an explosion near the village of Mayskoye, Crimea.   (RU-RTR Russian Television via AP)

(Newser) – Explosions and fires ripped through an ammunition depot in Russian-occupied Crimea on Tuesday in the second suspected Ukrainian attack on the peninsula in just over a week, forcing the evacuation of more than 3,000 people. Russia blamed the blasts in the village of Mayskoye on an "act of sabotage," without naming the perpetrators, the AP reports. Separately, the Russian business newspaper Kommersant quoted residents as saying plumes of black smoke also rose over an air base in Gvardeyskoye in central Crimea. Videos posted on social media showed thick columns of smoke rising over raging flames in Mayskoye, and a series of explosions could be heard.

The Russian Defense Ministry said a power plant, electrical lines, railroad tracks, and apartment buildings were damaged. Crimea’s regional leader, Sergei Aksyonov, said two people were injured and more than 3,000 evacuated from two villages. "The detonations are rather strong. Ammunition is strewn all over the ground," he said, adding that several homes burned down. Ukraine stopped short of publicly claiming responsibility for any of the blasts, including those that destroyed nine Russian planes at another Crimean air base last week. Russia blamed last week's explosions on an accidental detonation of munitions, but satellite photos and other evidence pointed to a Ukrainian attack, perhaps with anti-ship missiles, military analysts said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky alluded to Ukrainian attacks behind enemy lines when he included individuals "who oppose the occupiers in their rear" in a list of people he thanked for supporting the country's war effort. In a video address Tuesday night, he also warned people not go near Russian military installations and storage sites for ammunition and equipment. Crimea is a popular summer destination for Russian tourists, and Ukrainian officials warned Tuesday that it would not be spared the ravages of war. Rather than a travel destination, "Crimea occupied by Russians is about warehouse explosions and a high risk of death for invaders and thieves," Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter.

(Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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