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Russia-Ukraine war: Exclusive satellite images show destroyed jets and building at Belbek airbase

Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies

Satellite images exclusive to CNN show destroyed planes and a building at Belbek air base in Crimea on May 15, 2024.



CNN

Satellite images obtained exclusively by CNN on Wednesday show three destroyed Russian planes and damaged buildings at the Belbek airbase in the occupied port city of Sevastopol.

These material losses come after two days of Ukrainian attacks against Sevastopol in Crimea, illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.

In images taken by US real-time space intelligence company BlackSky and space technology company Maxar, two jets can be seen burned on Belbek’s main flight line, in addition to a third parked on an embankment protection. Satellite images also show a destroyed building nearby and another that suffered significant damage.

Mikhail Razvozhaev, the Russian-appointed governor of Sevastopol, said Friday on Telegram that the Russians “successfully repelled a massive enemy attack on Sevastopol.” Razvozhaev said “dozens” of unmanned aerial vehicles and “more than five marine drones were destroyed.” The city suffered a partial power outage due to drone debris falling on an electrical substation, he added.

This is the second time Belbek has been targeted by the Ukrainians in the past 48 hours.

Asked about a possible Ukrainian strike on Belbek, Dmytro Pletenchuk, Ukrainian military spokesman for the South, said Thursday: “We cannot announce any details at the moment because there is no verified information for the moment”. CNN has contacted the Ukrainian military for an update.

Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies

Satellite images exclusive to CNN show destroyed planes and a building at Belbek air base in Crimea on May 15, 2024.

Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies

Satellite images exclusive to CNN show destroyed planes and a building at Belbek air base in Crimea on May 15, 2024.

A Ukrainian insurgent group in Crimea, Atesh, claimed on Telegram after the second strike that an artillery warehouse at the Belbek airfield had been damaged.

“Significant damage to the airfield infrastructure was also recorded following a secondary detonation,” the statement said.

But none of the satellite images seen by CNN show signs that a missile or artillery weapons warehouse was hit, or that secondary detonations occurred.

While Moscow appears to have recently gained the upper hand in its land campaign, kyiv’s forces have enjoyed sustained successes against Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, whether through missile strikes or maritime drone attacks.

In March, Ukraine said it had struck two Russian navy ships, as well as a communications center and several other facilities belonging to the Black Sea Fleet, in a massive nighttime attack. Ukraine said the ships affected were two amphibious landing ships, the Yamal and the Azov.

More than 20 Russian military ships have now been neutralized or destroyed, representing a third of the total fleet. Although Ukraine has virtually no navy of its own, Russian technological innovation, audacity and incompetence have given it the upper hand over much of the Black Sea. In October last year, satellite images indicated that Russia had moved some of its warships away from Sevastopol after a series of Ukrainian attacks.

Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies

Satellite images exclusive to CNN show destroyed planes and a building at Belbek air base in Crimea on May 15, 2024.

Satellite image ©2024 Maxar Technologies

Satellite images exclusive to CNN show destroyed planes and a building at Belbek air base in Crimea on May 15, 2024.

The Belbek attack comes as Russia advances in northeastern Ukraine, prompting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to postpone his participation in all international events in the coming days as his troops defend against the surprise offensive in the Kharkiv region.

It is the most serious cross-border ground offensive since Ukraine reconquered the Kharkiv region in late summer 2022. It comes as Ukrainians struggle with forces, artillery and defenses airlifts under tension, awaiting much-needed munitions and weapons promised as part of a long-delayed $2 billion U.S. military financing plan.

Russian forces have taken control of more than nine villages near the border since the start of Moscow’s offensive. The town of Vovchansk, about 60 kilometers northeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, is the scene of some of the most intense battles.

However, NATO believes that Russian troops do not have the numbers necessary for a “strategic” breakthrough in Kharkiv, a senior commander of the military alliance said on Thursday.

Gen. Christopher Cavoli, supreme allied commander in Europe, told a news conference in Brussels that while the Russians have the “capacity to make local advances,” they “do not have the skills nor the capacity to do it, to operate at scale.” necessary to exploit any breakthrough to strategic advantage.

Zelensky met with senior military officials in Kharkiv earlier Thursday. He described the “extremely difficult” outlook for kyiv’s troops on the ground, where “we are strengthening our units.”

It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin met Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing on Thursday and the two pledged to deepen their strategic partnership, clearly demonstrating their growing alignment.

Russia’s economy has become increasingly dependent on China since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and a wide-ranging joint statement outlined their countries’ alignment on a host of issues including energy, trade , security and geopolitics, with specific references to Ukraine.

View this interactive content on CNN.com

News Source : amp.cnn.com
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