Crimea: Ukraine is behind three explosions in the province, according to a report by the Ukrainian government



CNN

Ukraine was behind three explosions that rocked Russian military installations in the annexed province of Crimea last week, including an explosion at a Russian air base on the west coast of the peninsula that destroyed several planes, according to a Ukrainian government report released internally and shared with CNN by a Ukrainian official.

The official requested anonymity because he was not authorized to share the information with the media.

The report describes the Saki airbase, which was rocked by explosions last Tuesday, as a harsh but unique loss to Russian military infrastructure on the peninsula, with subsequent attacks as evidence of Ukraine’s systematic military capability to target Crimea.

The August 9 incident at Saki Air Base, which destroyed at least seven military aircraft, severely damaged the base and killed at least one person.

Russia has claimed it was the result of an accident and Ukrainian officials have so far refused to publicly confirm they were responsible.

In a speech following the incident, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the war “began with Crimea and must end with Crimea – its liberation”.

Another series of explosions was reported in Crimea this week, on August 16, this time at an ammunition depot in Maiske and at an airfield in Gvardeyskoye.

Russian officials said the Maiske incident was the result of sabotage, but they did not specify the type of sabotage or who they believe was responsible.

The attacks come as a nascent resistance movement in Russian-occupied areas has committed acts of sabotage.

Over the weekend, Ukrainian officials confirmed that a railway bridge near Melitopol, which the Russians used to transport military equipment and weapons from occupied Crimea, had been destroyed by Ukrainian partisans.

As analysts speculate that there is a campaign to degrade Russia’s military capability in Crimea, Zelensky on Tuesday warned Ukrainians living in occupied areas to avoid military installations of Russian forces.

And referring to the mile-long traffic jams of civilian vehicles trying to leave Crimea for Russia, Zelensky said: “The queue these days to leave Crimea for Russia via the bridge proves that the absolute majority citizens of the terrorist state already understand or at least feel that Crimea is not a place for them.

Russia’s State Roads Agency on Tuesday reported a new traffic record on a Crimean bridge just days after the explosions at Saki air base.

“During the day of August 15, 38,297 cars crossed the bridge in both directions,” the statement said.

Local officials played down the size of the lines, saying they were the result of tighter controls on the bridge for safety reasons and not due to an increase in outgoing traffic.

“From the point of view that they are fleeing Crimea, it is a complete lie, there is no doubt about it,” the head of the administration of Russian-controlled Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, told state television on Tuesday. Russian.

But last month he acknowledged a blow to Crimea’s tourism industry, saying a 40% drop was expected over the summer. The Russian Tourism Association made a similar prediction in June.

Crimea was forcibly seized by Russia in 2014 – shortly after Ukrainian protesters helped overthrow pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych – when thousands of Russian-speaking soldiers wearing unmarked uniforms poured into the peninsula earlier this month of March this year.

Two weeks later, Russia completed its annexation of Crimea in a referendum, criticized by Ukraine and most of the world as illegitimate, then considered the biggest land grab in Europe since World War II.




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