Blasts in Crimea suggest Ukraine fightback

Moscow denounced the sabotage and Ukraine hinted at responsibility for further explosions at a Russian-annexed military base in Crimea, which is an important supply route for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The blasts on Tuesday engulfed an ammunition depot at a military base on the northern Crimean peninsula, disrupting trains and forcing the evacuation of 2,000 people from a nearby village, according to Russian officials and news agencies.

Plumes of smoke were then seen at a second Russian military base in central Crimea, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported, as explosions hit another facility in the west last week.

The explosions have raised the prospect of a new dynamic in the six-month war if Ukraine now has the ability to strike deeper into Russian territory or if pro-Kiev groups succeed with guerrilla-style attacks.

Russia has used Crimea, which it annexed to Ukraine in 2014, to bolster its troops fighting in other parts of Ukraine with military equipment, a process Ukraine wishes to halt before a possible counter-offensive in the south.

Crimea is the base of the Russian Black Sea fleet and is also popular in the summer as a vacation spot.

Ukraine has not officially confirmed or denied responsibility for the explosions, although its officials have openly applauded the incidents in a territory that – until last week – seemed safe under Moscow’s grip beyond any attack range. .

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak and Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak both gloated on social media about “demilitarization” – a seemingly mocking reference to the word used by Russia to justify its invasion.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the explosions at the ammunition depot were “the result of sabotage”.

As the war has raged since February 24, attention has also focused in recent days on the bombing near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor complex, the largest in Europe, in an area occupied by Russia in southeastern Ukraine. .

Russian officials based there, quoted by the Interfax news agency, said on Tuesday that Ukrainian forces bombed the city of Enerhodar where the plant is located. They accused Ukraine of doing it to get Russia to fight back.

Later in the day, 20 Russian rockets and 10 artillery shells struck the city of Nikopol on the Ukrainian government-controlled Dnipro bank opposite Enerhodar, Ukrainian regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on Telegram.

He said four people were injured.

Reuters could not immediately verify the accounts of any of the parties.

Each side blamed the other for the increased risks to the Zaporizhzhia plant, which Russia seized in March, although Ukrainian technicians continue to manage it.

Meanwhile, the Russian security service of the FSB has accused the Ukrainian “saboteurs” of repeatedly blowing up the electricity pylons that originated from a nuclear power plant in the Kursk region, about 90 kilometers north of the border. Ukrainian, thus disrupting the operation of the plant.

Reuters could not justify the report. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Ukrainian conflict has driven millions of people, killed thousands of people and created a geopolitical divide between Moscow and the West.

Moscow calls its invasion a “special military operation” to demilitarize its neighbor and protect Russian-speaking communities.

Ukraine, which was part of the Russian-dominated Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991, accuses Moscow of waging an imperial-style war of conquest.

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