Massive explosion rocks Crimea in suspected Ukraine attack on Russian ammo dump

16 August 2022, 09:15 | Updated: 16 August 2022, 15:26

A massive blast erupted in Crimea
A massive blast erupted in Crimea. Picture: Twitter

By Will Taylor

A huge explosion sent a fireball and smoke into the skyline after another Russian ammo dump went up in flames.

Dramatic footage shows the enormous blast on what is believed to be a stash in occupied Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula seized by Russia in 2014.

Ammunition cooks off and flys haphazardly away from the blast as ordinary people drive past and record with their phones.

The dump, in Dzhankoi, is some 100 miles from the southern Kherson region, where Ukraine's forces are thought to be preparing to counter attack.

It has led to speculation over how the dump could have been struck, given it is out of range of Western-supplied rocket launcher vehicles.

A senior Ukrainian source was quoted in the New York Times as saying an "elite military unit" was behind Tuesday's attack.

Read more: Ukraine blows up Russia's 'Wagner mercenary HQ' after street sign gives away location

"#Crimea this morning. Possibly railroad terminals filled with Russian military ammunition, etc," tweeted Igor Sushko, a Ukrainian-born blogger.

"Detonation of Russian ammunition depots confirmed by the Russian side. Locals being evacuated," he added.

"I'm more inclined to think this could be Ukrainian partisans. Way too deep in the occupied territory and too far from Ukrainian positions."

The Russian defence ministry said no serious casualties happened in the blast. It admitted "sabotage" was to blame for a military warehouse getting damaged, while Russian state news agency Tass said civilian facilities "including power lines, a power plant, railway tracks, and a number of residential buildings were damaged too".

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said: "Morning near Dzhankoi began with explosions.

"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. Demilitarization in action."

While the partisan claim cannot be verified, the footage Mr Sushko posted from Ukraine caused speculation over how it could have been hit.

Russia's forces have been battered by Western-supplied rocket launchers including GMLRS and Himars, which have longer ranges than regular tube artillery.

Twitter users monitoring the war speculated if the strike was designed to sabotage Russian rail transport in Crimea.

It comes shortly after a strike on a Russian air base in the peninsula.

The Saky base, to the west of Crimea, was hit by explosions earlier in August, leaving one person dead and at least eight planes wrecked.

Ukraine did not claim responsibility while Russia tried to downplay the attack. It triggered speculation over whether Ukraine had used a long-range missile or if special forces had been involved.

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