One killed as blasts rock Russia base in Crimea, Kyiv denies responsibility


Moscow: One person was killed on Tuesday when a Russian air base near seaside resorts in the annexed Crimean peninsula was rocked by blasts that Moscow said were detonations of stored ammunition, not the result of any attack.

Local witnesses said they had heard at least 12 explosions around 3:20 p.m. local time (1220 GMT) from the Saky air base near Novofedorivka on the west coast of the peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 and used in February as one of the launchpads for its invasion of Ukraine.

Crimea, a holiday destination for many Russians, has so far been spared the intense bombardment and artillery combat that other areas of eastern and southern Ukraine have suffered since Russian forces entered the country.

Russia’s defence ministry was adamant the “detonation of several aviation ammunition stores” had caused an explosion, and initially said no one had been harmed. It said there had been no attack and no aviation equipment had been damaged.

Asked whether Ukraine was taking responsibility for the blasts, presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak told the Dozhd online television channel: “Of course not. What do we have to do with this?”

Moscow could accuse Kyiv of crossing a red line if Ukraine were to acknowledge it had attacked territory that Russia sees as its own.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy did not directly mention the explosions in his daily video address on Tuesday, but said it was right that people were focusing on Crimea.


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