At least two explosions on Tuesday destroyed at least seven Russian aircrafts at an air base in Russian-annexed Crimea, a new satellite image from Planet Labs shows.
The cause of the explosion is still unknown. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense says it could not determine the cause, while the Russian Ministry of Defense said the blasts were caused by detonated aviation ammunition but did not reveal how it had been detonated.
A satellite image from Aug. 9 shows several fighter jets sitting inside earthen berm bays in the Saki Air Base. The satellite image from Aug. 10, after the explosion, shows the charred remains of at least seven aircrafts in the earthen berms.
The fate of the aircraft sitting on the flightline is unclear from the satellite image. Additional aircraft on the flightline and tarmac appear unharmed.
At least four craters are seen in this area of the base. In the area around the earthen berms and flightline, there is a noticeable burn mark and scarred vegetation.
The amount of destroyed planes on Tuesday may wind up making it one of the most destructive days for Russian Air Force aircraft since World War II, including the Soviet-era. The little available data on military aircraft losses during the Soviet era and modern Russia era do not indicate such substantial losses from a single incident, on a single day.
The explosion killed at least one person, and injured at least nine, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health of Crimea.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and considers Crimea part of its territory. Kyiv and its allies do not recognize the annexation and consider the peninsula Ukrainian territory under Russian occupation.
Ukrainian forces have hit an industrial site in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk, causing a fire and an ammonia leak, the head of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Territorial Defense said in a Telegram post.
“As a result of the shelling of the territory of the Donetsk brewery located in the Kalininskyi district of the city, an ammonia leak occurred,” the post said. “The affected area is 2 kilometers (more than 1 mile).”.
The state emergency services of the DPR said in an update that at least one person has died and two were injured following the hit.
“At the time of the accident there were 32 people on the brewery’s grounds. According to preliminary information, one person died and two were injured,” they said in a statement.
They said the fire was “still being extinguished.”
“At the moment the MES Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Group is conducting investigation of the area to determine the location of the ammonia leak and the maximum permissible concentration levels,” they added.
The state emergency services of the DPR is also warning people to remain indoors.
“The population must be inside the premises. Take measures for additional sealing of your apartments (houses), and premises. Breathe through cotton-gauze bandages moistened with a 5% solution of citric or acetic acid,” it said in a Telegram post.
“Tell your neighbors about the information you receive. Help the elderly, the sick, and children as needed,” the post also read
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the country’s military will respond to Russia’s shelling of Marhanets, which killed at least 13 people and injured another 10.
“The Armed Forces of Ukraine, our intelligence, and our law enforcement agencies will not leave today’s Russian shelling of the Dnipropetrovsk region unanswered,” Zelensky said in his nightly address on Wednesday.
The Ukrainian president went on to say the quickest way to end the war would be to inflict as many casualties as possible on Russia.
“The question of time actually directly depends on the question of the losses that Russia will suffer,” he said. “The more losses the occupiers have, the sooner we will be able to liberate our land and guarantee Ukraine’s security.”
“This is what everyone who defends our state and helps Ukraine should think about: how to inflict the greatest possible losses on the occupiers so that the time of the war is shorter,” he added.
Zelensky went on to reiterate the Ukraine would liberate the entire country from Russian occupation.
“We expelled the Russian army from the northern regions. We expelled the invaders from our Zmiinyi island. They already feel that the time has come to flee from Kherson and from the south of our country in general,” he said. “There will be a time when they will flee from the Kharkiv region, from Donbas, from Crimea… And everyone who can help this should help this.”