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Satellite images, photos play key role as Russia, Ukraine spar over warplane destruction in Crimea blasts

Contrary to Russian claims, videos on social media showed tourists fleeing as smoke rises from the coastline near the popular tourist destination.

Russia Ukraine WarA satellite image by Planet Labs PBC shows Saki Air Base after an explosion there on August 10, 2022, in the Crimean Peninsula, the Black Sea peninsula seized from Ukraine by Russia and annexed in March 2014. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

Following a blast at an airforce base in Russia-controlled Crimea, Russia and Ukraine sparred over the responsibility and impact of the explosion, which reportedly killed one person and injured 14 others.

Ukraine’s airforce, without directly claiming responsibility for the attack which took place on Tuesday, said at least nine Russian aircraft were destroyed, reported The Guardian. But Russia has denied that any attack has taken place, much less that its planes were affected by the blast.

The blast caught on camera

Contrary to Russian claims, videos on social media showed tourists fleeing as smoke rises from the coastline near the popular tourist destination.

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Rising smoke can be seen from the beach at Saky after explosions were heard from the direction of a Russian military airbase near Novofedorivka, Crimea, August 9, 2022. (UGC via AP)

One tourist, Natalia Lipovaya, said “the earth was gone from under my feet” after the powerful blasts. “I was so scared,” she told The Associated Press.

Smoke rises after explosions were heard from the direction of a Russian military airbase near Novofedorivka, Crimea, on August 9, 2022. (Reuters)

Sergey Milochinsky, a local resident, told AP that he recalled hearing a roar and seeing a mushroom cloud from his window. “Everything began to fall around, collapse,” he said.

A video posted on social media also showed long lines of slowly moving cars on the road to Russia as tourists headed for home.

What do satellite photos show?

When comparing the satellite photos taken on and before August 9, it can be seen that at least seven fighter planes at the military base have been blown up, said a Reuters report. It added it is likely that other planes have been damaged.

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A combination photo shows satellite images of Saky air base in Crimea, August 9, 2022 and after an attack on August 10, 2022. (Planet Labs PBC/Handout via Reuters)

What are Russia and Ukraine saying?

As per a Reuters report, Ukrainian officials stopped short of publicly claiming responsibility for the explosions.

However, Russia claimed the explosion could have been caused by a careless smoker, an explanation panned by analysts. They said the Ukrainians could have used anti-ship missiles to strike the base.

Where did the attack take place?

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The attack took place at the Saki air base in Crimea, which was annexed from Ukraine by Russia in 2014.

Crimea, at the southern tip of Ukraine and bordering the Black Sea, holds strategic and symbolic significance for both Kyiv and Moscow. The Kremlin’s demand that Ukraine recognise Crimea as part of Russia has been one of its key conditions for ending the fighting, while Ukraine has vowed to drive the Russians from the peninsula and all other occupied territories.

First published on: 11-08-2022 at 03:09:51 pm
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