Several explosions took place on Tuesday at a Russian naval air base on the west coast of annexed Crimea, according to testimonies and local pro-Kremlin officials.
Videos Eyewitness footage shows black smoke rising from the direction of the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s Saki air base and bathers fleeing into the nearby resort town of Novofyodorovka.
A total of 13 explosions of varying intensity were reported in the area, according to an eyewitness reports quoted by Reuters.
“I can confirm the fact of several explosions in the Novofyodorovka region. I ask everyone to wait for official information and not to spread [fake] explanations”, Oleg Kryuchkov, assistant to the head of the Crimea installed in Moscow, Sergei Aksyonov, said on the Telegram messaging app.
Aksoynov soon posted a video of the blast site, where he is pictured saying there were no confirmed civilian casualties and that residential buildings near the air base have been evacuated.
The two officials dismissed rumors that Russian President Vladimir Putin had declared a state of emergency in the region.
“I ask you not to spread fake Ukrainians”, Kryuchkov written, attached a photo of the fake order allegedly posted by a pro-Ukrainian Telegram channel with less than 200 subscribers.
The airbase is more than 200 kilometers behind the front lines in Russian-held territory, a map shows share by Ukrainian defense journalist Illia Ponomarenko, leading to speculation that the explosions may have been the result of a long-range missile strike by Kyiv forces.
The Russian Defense Ministry linked the incident to the “detonation of several aviation munitions” in a statement gate by the state-run TASS news agency.
“As a result of the explosion, no one was injured.”
Margarita Simonyan, editor of the Kremlin-backed RT network, was also quick to dismiss rumors that the blasts were the result of a Ukrainian attack.
“And here is what really happened. Several munitions exploded in the storage area. No problem. The equipment is also intact,” Simonyan tweeted.