Sabotage? Another Mysterious Explosion Rocks Crimea

August 16, 2022 Topic: Crimea Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: UkraineRussiaDzhankoi DistrictAzovskyRussian Defense MinistrySaki

Sabotage? Another Mysterious Explosion Rocks Crimea

The explosion marks the second such incident in a week.


On Tuesday, local Russian officials reported a blast near an ammunition depot in the Dzhankoi district of Crimea. "I am in the village of Azovsky, Dzhankoi district, where this morning, according to the Defense Ministry, a fire broke out on the territory of the temporary storage site of one of the military units’ ammunition. At the moment the detonation continues," Sergey Aksekov, the head of Russian-annexed Crimea, wrote on Telegram. Aksekov said authorities cordoned off the affected area in a five-kilometer radius and ordered the evacuation of as many as 2,000 locals.  "We are providing assistance on the spot. Ambulances, law enforcement agencies are mobilized in sufficient numbers," he added. At least two civilians were injured, according to officials. The blast reportedly damaged nearby power lines, railroad infrastructure, and residential areas. The extent of the damage done to Russian military equipment at and near the depot remains unclear.

"On the morning of August 16, as a result of an act of sabotage, a military warehouse near Dzhankoi was damaged,” said the Russian Defense Ministry, adding that it was “taking necessary measures to eliminate the consequences of the sabotage.” The Kremlin did not elaborate on the cause of the explosion, nor did it explicitly state that Ukraine’s armed forces were behind the attack.


The explosion marks the second such incident in a week. Saki air base, near the village of Novofedorivka in Crimea, was hit by three blasts that damaged parts of the facility and reportedly destroyed up to seven Russian aircraft.

Ukraine has neither formally claimed nor denied responsibility for the Saki and Dzhankoi explosions. "Crimea occupied by Russians is about warehouses explosions and high risk of death for invaders and thieves. Demilitarization in action,” presidential advisor Mikhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter. A senior Ukrainian official told the Washington Post that the Tuesday explosion was the work of Ukrainian special forces units embedded in Crimea. Presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych previously said that the Saki attack could have been carried out through a missile strike or the work of partisans.

The Crimean peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014, shortly following the onset of the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine. Moscow officials have previously warned that they would treat a strike on Crimea as a red line, with former President Dmitry Medvedev promising a “Judgment Day” response if the peninsula comes under attack.

Mark Episkopos is a national security reporter for the National Interest.

Image: Reuters.