Ukraine’s Air Force Command says the explosions at the air base near the village of Novofedorivka in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimea destroyed an aviation weapons depot and about ten aircraft were destroyed.
Yuriy Ihnat, the spokesman for Air Force Command, speaking on Ukrainian national television on Aug. 10, said Saky’s military airfield was a base for Russian Su-30SM, Su-24, Il-76 and other warplanes.
"The occupiers' planes were constantly taking off from this airfield,” Ihnat said.
“They are in the sky around Ukraine practically around the clock. Without flying to Snake Island, they patrol the Black Sea constantly, only changing planes and crews. Disabling the airfield is a good thing, and if a dozen more planes were destroyed there, that's a small victory.”
He added that this airfield also has a mock-up aircraft carrier deck on the ground, called Nitka. There, navy aircraft pilots are taught how to land on an aircraft carrier, using an arrester cable to slow the plane down immediately on landing.
Ihnat said that during the last three months, Russian planes had not flown in range of the Ukrainian air defense system, but that they were carrying anti-radar missiles.
Also, according to his information, there are about five airfields similar to Saky in Crimea.
"From the explosion that we observed in the video footage, it is clear that the affected ammunition dump is the warehouse of aviation weapons, because there was a serious detonation, which means that the warehouse was hit,” Ihnat said.
“Su-34, Su-24 aircraft, possibly helicopters, were hit."
Several powerful explosions rang out at the Saky military air base near the village of Novofedorivka in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimea on the afternoon of Aug. 9. Columns of smoke from there could be seen both on land and from the sea.
The Ministry of Defense of Russia claimed that "several aviation munitions had detonated."
Earlier, the so-called "health ministry" of the occupied peninsula announced that the number of victims "as a result of the incident" in Novofedorivka had increased to nine (from the initially reported five), including one fatality.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense also commented on the explosions at the airfield in Russian-occupied Crimea, saying that it could not establish the cause of the fire at the airport.
Sarcastically, the ministry’s message mentioned the importance of observing fire safety rules and bans on smoking in no-smoking zones.