Crimean residents ‘in panic’ after blasts at Saky airbase, says human rights activist

11 August 2022, 01:40 PM
Novofedorivka, consequences of the explosions at the Saky airport, August 9, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Stringer)

Novofedorivka, consequences of the explosions at the Saky airport, August 9, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Stringer)

A wave of panic swept over the residents of Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimea after several powerful blasts rocked the Saky airbase near the village of Novofedorivka on Aug. 9, the head of a Crimean human rights group, Olha Skrypnyk, told Radio NV on Aug. 9.

“If we’re talking about ordinary people, they’re in panic,” she said.

“It’s very noticeable that some tourists, especially those who came from Russia, are leaving the Saky district,” she went on. “There is information that quite a lot of cars are driving across the Crimean bridge.”

“This has even affected other resorts, such as Yalta, where the number of tourists also decreased. They’re even afraid to go to the beach in some regions. So, as for the informational component, it had quite a significant impact on the local population – those who are Russian citizens in particular.”

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Skrypnyk added the Russian-appointed occupation governor of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, had announced a “yellow terrorist threat level” until Aug. 24 in the northern areas of Crimea.

“For the most part, we’ve only ever talks about diplomatic and political (ways to return Crimea to Ukrainian control),” the human rights activist said.

“We understood and supported this. But today the situation has changed due to Russia’s full-scale attack. So the minimum we can talk about now is that Ukraine has every right to take a military path to regaining (control of) Crimea.”

“As a Crimean woman, I also believe that the Crimea will be returned (to Ukraine), but we understand how difficult this operation is. At the same time, we can see how professionally the Ukrainian authorities and the army are taking their steps, complying with the norms of International Humanitarian Law.”

Several powerful blasts rocked the Saky airfield near Novofedorivka on Aug. 9. Columns of smoke from the blasts were seen both on land and from the sea.

Russia’s Defense Ministry declared that “the detonation of several aviation munitions” had allegedly taken place at the Saky airfield.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry also commented on the explosions at the airfield near Novofedorivka. They said that they could not establish the cause of the fire on the territory of the airfield, but noted the importance of “observing fire safety rules and the prohibition of smoking in non-smoking zones.”

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the President’s Office, said that the Ukrainian Army had nothing to do with the explosions at the airfield. He said that the explosions could have been the work of guerrillas.

According to U.S. newspaper the Washington Post, the attack on the Russian air base in occupied Crimea was the work of Ukrainian special forces.

At the same time, expert analysis of satellite imagery of the airbase following the strike has revealed three large craters, from 20-25 meters across, which military analysts suspect were caused by missiles with warheads around 500 kilograms in size.

Satellite imagery and video footage from around the base also indicated widespread destruction ot warplanes and ammunition storages.

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