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More than 2,000 people have been forced to evacuate from Russia-annexed Crimea on Tuesday following a series of explosions and fires at an ammunition depot that Moscow is decrying as an “act of sabotage.”
The blasts at the facility in Mayskoye came a week after Ukraine said nine aircraft were destroyed in explosions targeting a Russian air base in another part of Crimea, which also left one person dead, according to the Associated Press.
“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,” Ukraine presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter Tuesday, without claiming any responsibility for the latest destruction.
The Russian Defense Ministry, in its own statement, said “on the morning of Aug. 16, as a result of an act of sabotage, a military storage facility near the village of Dzhankoi was damaged.”
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A video posted on RIA Novosti’s website showed explosions and smoke rising into the sky from a distance.
Russian state media, citing the defense ministry, reported that the blasts inflicted damage on civilian facilities, power lines, power plants, railway tracks and residential buildings in the area.
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Crimean regional leader Sergei Aksyonov told RIA Novosti that two people were injured in the blasts and around 2,000 were evacuated.
Rebekah Koffler, a former DIA intelligence officer and the author of ”Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” told Fox News Digital that “today’s explosions in Russia-occupied Crimea that come on the heels of another set of mysterious blasts at an airbase, will almost certainly give Russian President Vladimir Putin a pause.
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“The fact that Crimea is no longer a safe haven for the Russians and that Ukrainians view it as a legitimate target is highly significant,” she said. “Ukraine has demonstrated that it still has the capacity, the wherewithal, the will to mount a counter-offensive against a much more formidable opponent.”
Kommersant, a Russian business newspaper, also quoted local residents as saying that black smoke could be seen rising over an air base Tuesday in Gvardeyskoye, near the center of Crimea.