A week after blasts at a Russian air base in Crimea destroyed several fighter jets, explosions rocked a Russian ammunition depot near the village of Mayskoye in the Dzhankoi district of the occupied Crimea.
Videos on social media show thick plumes of smoke rising over flames in Mayskoye. A series of explosions could be heard in the background.
Russia blamed the blasts on an “act of sabotage”, leading to speculation that Ukrainian special forces may have mounted an attack on the storage depot. Ukrainian officials have suggested that last week’s attack on a Russian air base on the peninsula was carried out by Ukrainian special forces, though Kyiv has stopped short of publicly claiming responsibility.
On Twitter, Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak wrote, “A reminder: Crimea of normal country is about the Black Sea, mountains, recreation and tourism, but Crimea occupied by Russians is about warehouses explosions and high risk of death for invaders and thieves. Demilitarization in action.”
At least two civilians were wounded in the blasts, and an estimated 3,000 were evacuated from the area, according to the Kremlin-installed head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov.
A British Defense Ministry intelligence update said that, in the waters off Crimea, Russian Black Sea Fleet surface vessels “continue to pursue an extremely defensive posture,” with boats barely venturing out of sight of the coastline.
The Russian fleet's “limited effectiveness undermines Russia's overall invasion strategy,” the British intelligence update said. “This means Ukraine can divert resources to press Russian ground forces elsewhere.”