More satellite images show the major damage and several destroyed Russian warplanes at the Saki Air Base in Crimea, following the explosions earlier this week, the BBC writes.
At least 12 explosions rocked the Russian-run Saki base in western Crimea on Tuesday, killing one person.
A Ukrainian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the New York Times that “this was an air base from which planes regularly took off for attacks against our forces in the southern theater of operations.” The official did not want to reveal the type of weaponry used in the attack, saying only that “an exclusively Ukrainian-made device was used.”
Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility for the attack, but this new evidence suggests the possibility of a targeted attack, the BBC writes.
Images from Planet Labs in the US show large areas of burnt land left by the fires that broke out.
The base’s main runways appear to be intact, but at least eight aircraft appear to be damaged and destroyed, with several craters visible in images. Most of them are in an area of the base where a large number of aircraft were located.
Images taken before and after Tuesday’s explosions, obtained from Planet Labs, which monitors hundreds of satellite feeds over Ukraine, are the first independent confirmation that the base may have been damaged. So far, there have not been many details about the extent of the impact of the explosions. It is not clear how the base was damaged or why.
The Russian Ministry of Defense said that the explosion at the Saki military airfield was caused by the detonation of aviation ammunition and that there were no victims, reported the Russian press. There was no attack and military equipment was not affected by the explosion, the Russian ministry also claimed.
“I think the Russian military at this air base broke their very simple known rule: don’t smoke in dangerous places. That’s it,” said Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister.
There was no attack and military equipment was not affected by the explosion, the Russian ministry also claims. These new images suggest that’s not true.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace suggested that the fact that there were two separate explosions indicated an attack rather than an accident. He also defended Ukraine’s right to target Crimea. “It is absolutely legitimate for Ukraine to resort to lethal force if necessary … to regain not only its territory but also to repel its attacker,” he told the BBC.
Russia issued a warning last month when former President Dmitry Medvedev threatened that “Doomsday will come” if Ukraine attacks Crimea.