Andras Nemeth

Days after a Ukrainian operation caused heavy damage to an air base in Russian-controlled Crimea, mysterious explosions also rocked a base in Belarus. Although Kiev has not officially admitted that it had anything to do with the explosions, new versions of what may have caused the Crimean incident have emerged.

Careless accidents and technical malfunctions at the airfields used by the Russian military to attack Ukraine seem to be a bit too much. Earlier in the week, several explosions occurred at the Sagi base in the western part of Crimea under Russian occupation, while at least eight explosions were detected early Thursday at an air base in Belarus. The cases have several common features: Russian forces attacking Ukraine actively use both bases, and official sources deny that Ukraine was behind the “accidents” in both cases. In Crimea, crews allegedly failed to follow these fire safety regulations, and an explosion occurred while overhauling the engine of a military vehicle near Komal, Belarus.

Epidemic of accidents

Ukraine Ukraine has not officially admitted that it had anything to do with the actions, but according to statements by politicians and officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, Kyiv may have been involved in both cases. “Technical problems seem to have become epidemic. The cases in Belarus and Crimea should be taken as a warning in Moscow. Forget Ukraine, take off the uniform and leave. They will not feel safe in occupied Crimea or occupied Belarus, karma will catch them everywhere,” said an adviser to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. Mihajlo Podoliak wrote in a Twitter post.

Although there is no news about what exactly happened in Belarus, several versions of what happened at the Sagi site have come to light. According to one, Ukraine was hit in several waves. First, he took out the base’s surveillance radars, and second, he blew up the ammunition depots. According to some sources, the destruction was caused by Ukrainian-made missiles, and the United States may have already provided missiles capable of safely destroying targets up to 300 kilometers away. At least nine Russian fighter jets were destroyed in the massive fire, and it was the largest one-day loss for the Russian Air Force in an attack since February 24. According to military experts, what hurts Moscow the most is not the loss of machines, but the large amount of missiles and other war equipment in warehouses, which are in short supply.

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According to another explanation — attributed to well-informed Ukrainian officials — Ukrainian special forces infiltrated Crimea and detonated ammunition depots with drones launched from near the base. Commentators have not released any further details, but it makes clear that they did not hear the screams of incoming rockets at the site before the explosions. There is also a version that Ukrainian saboteurs penetrated the territory of the base and detonated explosives placed in warehouses by remote control. If this happened, the choice of time was not accidental: explosions were seen by thousands of people relaxing on the beach.

Defeated naval commander

It also indicated that the airbase in Crimea was not destroyed due to fire safety violations, and two days after the operation, Russian President Vladimir Putin replaced the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Igor Osipov, in office since 2019. Any particular justification. Osipov had to leave because of a previous statement: in the first days of August, before the explosions, he announced that his fleet had taken full control of the Sea of ​​Azov and the northwestern basin of the Black Sea.

However, the explosions in Crimea proved that Osipov’s announcement was a bit hasty. According to some sources, if the Ukrainians threw missiles at the base, the devices were fired not from land, but from ships in the Black Sea. According to US sources, the base was hit by Ukrainian missiles, but the announcement of the Washington Defense Ministry did not clearly indicate where the flying structures came from.

A pervasive sense of security

While the Crimea and Belarus attacks did not derail the Russian war machine, they certainly have the potential to confuse the attackers, as it cannot be ruled out that Ukraine will carry out similar operations. This means that equipment involved in combat operations must be moved further from the Ukrainian border, so that only the machines can be used from a greater distance.

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Huge clouds of smoke and dust scared Crimeans, who had felt safe until now, and tourists visiting the peninsula: it was no coincidence that a few hours after the explosion, a huge storm broke out on the Kerch bridge. A land route connecting Crimea and Russia.

More effects

The Crimea and Belarus operations are also important, as the devastating strikes call into question Moscow’s ability to pacify the Ukrainian territories it already occupies. For example, the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, where the Ukrainian military is said to be preparing for a counteroffensive, and where partisans have carried out several bombings and massacres in recent weeks.

The Ukrainians could open a front in Crimea, which fell into Russian hands practically without firing a shot in 2014, and the Russian military would need to bolster defenses on the peninsula, leaving fewer resources to bolster Kherson. , which is threatened by a Ukrainian counterattack.


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