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Fireball erupts at ammunition depot in Crimea days after explosions destroyed Putin’s warplanes

An ammunition depot has exploded in Crimea just days after a series of blasts destroyed at least seven Russian warplanes at a nearby air force base.

Video shows a huge fireball explosion at a temporary military storage facility in the village of Mayskoye near the city of Dzhankoi in northern Crimea.

The Russian-appointed administrative leader of Mayskoye, Sergei Aksyonov, said two people had been injured in the blast after ammunition exploded at the depot.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, a transformer substation near the town of Dzhankoi, 14 miles away from the ammunition depot, caught fire according to Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency.

The blasts at the military storage facility damaged a railway line which provides a key rail link between Crimea and the Russian mainland. Trains were immediately disrupted with 2,000 left stranded, said officials in the occupied peninsula.

Russia has used Crimea to reinforce its troops fighting and the damage to the rail network could now disrupt that process.

It is not yet clear what caused the blasts but it will raise suspicions of it being a Ukrainian sabotage attack in the Putin-annexed peninsula.

The explosions come just days after a series of devastating blasts destroyed at least seven Russian warplanes and demolished ammunition storage facilities at the Saki air force base in Crimea.

It also comes a day after Ukraine launched a HIMARS strike on a Wagner military base in the occupied city of Popasna after its location was inadvertently revealed by a Russian war propagandist. 

An ammunition depot has exploded in Crimea just days after a series of explosions destroyed at least seven Russian warplanes at a nearby air force base

An ammunition depot has exploded in Crimea just days after a series of explosions destroyed at least seven Russian warplanes at a nearby air force base

Footage appeared to show a series of explosions at the ammunition depot

Footage appeared to show a series of explosions at the ammunition depot

Footage appeared to show a series of explosions at the ammunition depot

Footage appeared to show a series of explosions at the ammunition depot

Residents from the village are now being evacuated as footage appeared to show a series of explosions at the ammunition depot

Video shows a huge fireball explosion at a temporary military storage facility in the village of Mayskoye near the city of Dzhankoi in northern Crimea

Video shows a huge fireball explosion at a temporary military storage facility in the village of Mayskoye near the city of Dzhankoi in northern Crimea

Video shows a huge fireball explosion at a temporary military storage facility in the village of Mayskoye near the city of Dzhankoi in northern Crimea

Video shows a huge fireball explosion at a temporary military storage facility in the village of Mayskoye near the city of Dzhankoi in northern Crimea

Video shows a huge fireball explosion at a temporary military storage facility in the village of Mayskoye near the city of Dzhankoi in northern Crimea

Some 2,000 residents were evacuated from the area as footage appeared to show a series of explosions at the ammunition depot, with clouds of black smoke billowing into the air

Some 2,000 residents were evacuated from the area as footage appeared to show a series of explosions at the ammunition depot, with clouds of black smoke billowing into the air

Some 2,000 residents were evacuated from the area as footage appeared to show a series of explosions at the ammunition depot, with clouds of black smoke billowing into the air

An ammunition depot has exploded in Crimea just days after a series of explosions destroyed at least seven Russian warplanes at a nearby air force base. Earlier on Tuesday morning, a transformer substation near the town of Dzhankoi, 14 miles away from the ammunition depot, caught fire according to Russia's RIA Novosti news agency

An ammunition depot has exploded in Crimea just days after a series of explosions destroyed at least seven Russian warplanes at a nearby air force base. Earlier on Tuesday morning, a transformer substation near the town of Dzhankoi, 14 miles away from the ammunition depot, caught fire according to Russia's RIA Novosti news agency

An ammunition depot has exploded in Crimea just days after a series of explosions destroyed at least seven Russian warplanes at a nearby air force base. Earlier on Tuesday morning, a transformer substation near the town of Dzhankoi, 14 miles away from the ammunition depot, caught fire according to Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency

Russia’s Defence Ministry today said there were no ‘serious’ casualties after the fire broke out at a temporary storage area of the ammunition depot. 

Moscow said that the fire had erupted at the depot at around 6.15am local time (03.15 GMT), causing ammunition to detonate. 

Some 2,000 residents were evacuated from the area as footage appeared to show a series of explosions at the ammunition depot, with clouds of black smoke billowing into the air. 

Russia’s RIA news agency said seven passenger trains had been delayed and that rail traffic on part of the line in northern Crimea had been suspended after the explosions damaged a railway line. Aksyonov said a bus service would be provided to allow people to continue their journey. 

Crimea, which has been under Russian control since 2014 even as most of the world recognises it as Ukrainian territory, has been a major staging post for the military campaign Russia launched in Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Ukraine has not officially confirmed or denied responsibility for reported explosions in Crimea in recent days.

Earlier on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported a fire on a transformer substation near the town of Dzhankoi in Crimea

Earlier on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported a fire on a transformer substation near the town of Dzhankoi in Crimea

Earlier on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported a fire on a transformer substation near the town of Dzhankoi in Crimea

Earlier on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported a fire on a transformer substation near the town of Dzhankoi in Crimea

Earlier on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported a fire on a transformer substation near the town of Dzhankoi in Crimea

Earlier on Tuesday morning, a transformer substation near the town of Dzhankoi, 14 miles away from the ammunition depot, caught fire according to Russia's RIA Novosti news agency

Earlier on Tuesday morning, a transformer substation near the town of Dzhankoi, 14 miles away from the ammunition depot, caught fire according to Russia's RIA Novosti news agency

Earlier on Tuesday morning, a transformer substation near the town of Dzhankoi, 14 miles away from the ammunition depot, caught fire according to Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency

‘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,’ Ukrainian Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted after Tuesday’s explosions.

The Russian reports did not say how many blasts occurred in total.

The explosion marks yet another embarrassing loss for Russian President Vladimir Putin as it comes just days after a series of blasts ravaged the Saki air force base in Crimea. 

At least seven Russian fighter jets were destroyed and ammunition storage facilities were destroyed in the explosions on August 9.

Russia denied any aircraft were damaged in last week’s blasts – or that any attack took place. But photos of the Saki base in Crimea published by US-based satellite imaging company Planet Labs PBC clearly showed at least seven fighter planes had been obliterated in what is widely thought to have been a Ukrainian strike.

Meanwhile, an anonymous official told the Washington Post that the attack had been carried out by Ukraine’s special forces. 

The explosions, which killed one person and wounded 14, sent tourists fleeing in panic from a nearby beach as plumes of smoke snaked along the coastline. 

At least seven Russian fighter jets were destroyed and ammunition storage facilities were destroyed in the explosions on August 9. Pictured: Satellite images show the destroyed Russian aircraft at the Saki Air base

At least seven Russian fighter jets were destroyed and ammunition storage facilities were destroyed in the explosions on August 9. Pictured: Satellite images show the destroyed Russian aircraft at the Saki Air base

At least seven Russian fighter jets were destroyed and ammunition storage facilities were destroyed in the explosions on August 9. Pictured: Satellite images show the destroyed Russian aircraft at the Saki Air base  

The explosions on August 9, which killed one person and wounded 14, sent tourists fleeing in panic from a nearby beach as plumes of smoke snaked along the coastline

The explosions on August 9, which killed one person and wounded 14, sent tourists fleeing in panic from a nearby beach as plumes of smoke snaked along the coastline

The explosions on August 9, which killed one person and wounded 14, sent tourists fleeing in panic from a nearby beach as plumes of smoke snaked along the coastline

Ukrainian officials stopped short of publicly claiming responsibility for the explosions, but said at least nine planes had been destroyed and mocked Russia’s explanation that a careless smoker might have caused ammunition at the Saki air base to catch fire and blow up. 

If Ukrainian forces were, in fact, responsible for the blasts, it would be the first known major attack on a Russian military site on the Crimean Peninsula, which the Kremlin annexed from Ukraine in 2014. 

Russian warplanes have launched untold numbers of strikes on Ukraine’s southeastern regions from the Saki airbase.

Planet Labs’ photographs, taken roughly 24 hours after the explosions at the Saki base in Crimea showed roughly one square mile of grassland burned to a crisp. 

Several craters marked the ground near the tarmac – typically the sign of a powerful explosion – and the smouldering wreckage of several jets are clearly visible.

The two runways meanwhile bore no apparent damage and appeared to still be operational, while some of the fighter jets on the flight line had been moved farther down the runway and had seemingly escaped the explosions.

The base has been home to the Russian 43rd Independent Naval Assault Air Squadron since Moscow seized Crimea.

The squadron flies Sukhoi Su-24s and Sukhoi Su-30s and has been instrumental in delivering air support and strikes across southeastern Ukraine.

Crimea holds huge strategic and symbolic significance for both sides. 

The Kremlin demands that Ukraine recognises Crimea as part of Russia as a key condition of any potential ceasefire agreement. 

Ukraine has vowed to drive the Russians from the peninsula, with president Volodymyr Zelensky declaring earlier this week: ‘Crimea is Ukrainian, and we will never give it up… The Russian war against Ukraine and the whole of free Europe must end with Crimea and its liberation.’

Meanwhile, Ukraine said yesterday that HIMARS were used to strike a Wagner military base in the occupied city of Popasna after its location was inadvertently revealed by a Russian war propagandist.

Russian war propagandist Sergei Sreda marked a visit to Wagner’s Ukraine headquarters last week by posing alongside mercenaries in full combat gear. 

Sergei Sreda, a Russian war propagandist, visited Wagner's HQ in Ukraine last week to pose with soldiers - but inadvertently revealed its location with this photo, which included a street sign with the address of a nearby bomb shelter (top left)

Sergei Sreda, a Russian war propagandist, visited Wagner's HQ in Ukraine last week to pose with soldiers - but inadvertently revealed its location with this photo, which included a street sign with the address of a nearby bomb shelter (top left)

Sergei Sreda, a Russian war propagandist, visited Wagner’s HQ in Ukraine last week to pose with soldiers – but inadvertently revealed its location with this photo, which included a street sign with the address of a nearby bomb shelter (top left)

Ukraine said it used the information in that photo to launch a HIMARS attack on the base, with confirmation coming from Wagner-linked Telegram channels on Sunday that it had been hit (pictured, the aftermath of the strike)

Ukraine said it used the information in that photo to launch a HIMARS attack on the base, with confirmation coming from Wagner-linked Telegram channels on Sunday that it had been hit (pictured, the aftermath of the strike)

Ukraine said it used the information in that photo to launch a HIMARS attack on the base, with confirmation coming from Wagner-linked Telegram channels on Sunday that it had been hit (pictured, the aftermath of the strike)

It is not clear how many mercenaries were killed or wounded in the strike, but images uploaded to Telegram accounts linked to the group show men being carried out on stretchers

It is not clear how many mercenaries were killed or wounded in the strike, but images uploaded to Telegram accounts linked to the group show men being carried out on stretchers

It is not clear how many mercenaries were killed or wounded in the strike, but images uploaded to Telegram accounts linked to the group show men being carried out on stretchers 

But Sreda may have condemned the men to death – giving away the base’s location in the occupied city of Popasna after inadvertently photographing a street sign that contained the address of a nearby bomb shelter.

That was all experts needed to locate the base, which Ukraine then used to launch a HIMARS strike. Confirmation that it had been struck came on Sunday, when Telegram channels with links to Wagner began posting photos of the aftermath – including soldiers being carried away on stretchers.

It is just the latest embarrassing blunder for Vladimir Putin’s forces almost six months into what was supposed to be a days-long war in Ukraine – having been forced to retreat from Kyiv, seen the Black Sea flagship Moskva sunk, withdrawn from Snake Island, and last week seen an airbase in Crimea all-but wiped off the map.

This is a breaking news story, more to follow… 

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