The Ukrainian government made remarks suggesting that it was responsible for the two mysterious explosions that occurred this month in the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia forcibly merged from Ukraine in 2014. Amid a series of mysterious explosions in Crimea in southern Ukraine, Ukrainian troops have warned that they will continue further attacks to cut off Russian supply lines in Crimea. An explosion occurred in an ammunition depot near Jankoi in northeastern Crimea on the 16th (local time). It has been a week since the explosion at Saki Air Station in the southern part of the country.
TASS reported on the 16th (local time) that another ammunition dump in the region exploded a week after a mysterious explosion occurred at an airfield in Crimea, Ukraine, occupied by Russia. Russia claimed it was sabotage this time, unlike last week’s blast, which was a careless accident. “At around 6:15 a.m. on the same day, a fire broke out in a temporary ammunition department of the military unit in the village of Maisuke in the northern Jankoi region of the Crimean Peninsula,” the Russian Ministry of National Defense said. “The sabotage damaged the military warehouses,” he said. “Many civilian facilities, power lines, power plants, railways and residential buildings were destroyed.” “I agree with the Russian Defense Ministry that there will be more attacks on the Crimean railway and air bases over the next two or three months,” Mikhailo Podolyak, a senior presidential aide, said in a British daily Guardian interview. “Our strategy is to destroy supply ships, munitions, ammunition depots and other military infrastructure,” he said. “We are trying to neutralize the enemy by causing shortages of supplies and ammunition.” It also said it was a counterattack to create confusion within the Russian military in the occupied territories.
In particular, he stressed that the Crimean Bridge, which connects Crimea and mainland Russia, is the target. The Crimean Bridge was built after Russia forcibly annexed Ukraine in 2014. “The bridge is a major supply route to Crimea and an illegal building,” Podolyak said. “It should be destroyed.” Immediately after the accident, the Crimean administration said that no fighter jets or military equipment were destroyed except for ammunition. Still, satellite photos later showed nine military aircraft destroyed and many traces of precision strikes. In an information update, the British Ministry of Defense analyzed that Russia’s Black Sea fleet has recently taken an extremely defensive posture, with few going out of the coastline. In addition, the restriction on the operation of the Russian fleet allowed Ukrainian forces to pressure Russian troops in other regions.
There are no reports of what type of sabotage it is, but Reuters said, “Russian state media suspect it was an attack using a small drone.” Reuters said, “Russia admitted that unusually, military facilities in its territory were attacked by armed groups loyal to the Ukrainian government.” After the explosion, a fire broke out at the nearby substation, and about 2,000 nearby residents evacuated 5km outside the explosion radius. According to Russia’s Lia Novosti news agency, seven-passenger trains were delayed due to the explosion’s impact and subsequent substation fire. Some rail traffic in the northern part of the Crimea Peninsula was suspended.
The Ukrainian government is silent about the Crimean explosion, but foreign media reported that Ukrainian troops were involved. The New York Times quoted an unnamed senior Ukrainian official saying, “The ammunition depot explosion is an operation of the Ukrainian elite unit operating behind the enemy.” Aide Podolyak also tweeted, “Normal Crimea is a tourist and recreational area, but Russia-occupied Crimea has a high risk of death from explosions and aggression,” hinting at the possibility of an attack.
Mikhailo Podolyak, an aide to Ukraine’s presidential office, tweeted after the accident, “The Crimean Peninsula, which was a normal country, was an area with the Black Sea, mountains and recreation, but the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula became a place with a high risk of death of invaders and thieves.” At the end of Twitter, he wrote, “Demilitarization (of Crimea) is underway.” Demilitarization is a favourite expression used by Russia to explain why it invaded Ukraine.
Crimea is in Eastern Europe and faces the Black Sea and the Azov Sea. The central city is Simferopol in the central part of the city. It is an area that Russia occupied in 2014 and incorporated into its territory after a referendum. Russia warns that there will be a “Day of Judgment if Crimea is attacked.” However, on the 9th, an unknown explosion occurred at Saki Air Force Airfield in Crimea. Ukraine is currently focusing on Russian strategic facilities on the southern front with the U.S.-backed “High-Speed Maneuver Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).” The Russian ammunition depot in Zankoi was also reportedly hit by Hi-Mas. According to the NYT, a Russian government official said, “At least two civilians were injured, and more than 3,000 people were evacuated.” “The Crimean attack shows that the Ukrainian military’s tactics are increasingly changing,” the NYT said. “It is a challenge to the political position of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has put Crimean as a key achievement in 22 years of power.” Germany’s Deutsche Belle also said, “The attack on Crimea means that the war has escalated into Russian territory, which suggests that the war will escalate further.”
Earlier on the 9th, an explosion occurred at Saki Airfield in Crimea. Six people were injured in a drone attack in Sevastopol ahead of Russia’s Navy Day celebration on the 31st of last month. The Ukrainian government said it was not responsible for a series of explosions. Crimea is regarded as Russia’s territory after its merger in 2014 and is considered a geopolitical hub for Russia. To face the southern front, including Herson, occupied by Russia in the early days of the war, it must pass through Crimea. In addition, the Port of Sevastopol is an ice-free port that does not freeze throughout the year, and Russian Black Sea Fleet is stationed there.
Earlier last month, Dmitry Medvedev, vice chairman of the Russian National Security Council, warned that “if we attack Crimea, it will be Ukraine’s ‘judgment day.” Putin also said late last year that Ukraine’s efforts to recapture the Crimean Peninsula could trigger an all-out war between Russia and NATO. Ukraine, on the other hand, cannot back down. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said shortly after the explosion of the Saki Air Base, “The war, which began in Crimea, should end with the liberation of Crimea.”
Concerns are growing that if the Ukrainian military officially recognizes the recent series of explosions as part of the “Cream Peninsula Restoration Operation,” the Russian military will take a strong response, which could lead to a “destructive situation. “There is a saying among Ukrainian officials that the Crimean Peninsula will not avoid the devastation of the war,” said Politico, a U.S. political media outlet. “If Ukrainian forces are behind the explosion, the war could expand rapidly.”
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