Explosions Hit Russian-controlled Crimea

    16 August 2022

    Large explosions and fires hit a military base in Russian-controlled Crimea Tuesday. It is the second time that the war in Ukraine has expanded to the area.

    Russia called the explosions at the ammunition storage center an "act of sabotage" but did not say who was responsible. The incident interfered with train service and forced more than 3,000 people to leave the area.

    The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported local people saw black smoke rising over the air base in the Crimean city of Gvardeyskoye. Last week, nine Russian warplanes were destroyed following several explosions at the Saki air base.

    A view shows smoke rising above the area following an alleged explosion in the village of Mayskoye in the Dzhankoi district, Crimea, August 16, 2022. (REUTERS/Stringer)
    A view shows smoke rising above the area following an alleged explosion in the village of Mayskoye in the Dzhankoi district, Crimea, August 16, 2022. (REUTERS/Stringer)

    Ukraine has not confirmed or denied responsibility for the two explosions. But, its officials have openly cheered incidents in territory that, until last week, appeared to be safely under Russian control.

    The two incidents, in the Dzhankoi area, were about 50 kilometers from the Russian-controlled city of Kherson in southern Ukraine. Ukrainian troops have recently attacked the area, targeting supply paths for the Russian military there and ammunition storage centers.

    Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Russia has used the area to provide supplies and support for its troops fighting in Ukraine. The Crimean Peninsula is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet and is popular with summer visitors.

    Russia's demand that Ukraine recognize Crimea as part of Russia has been one of the conditions for ending the war. Ukraine has promised to drive Russians out of the peninsula and other occupied territories.

    Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

    More attention has also centered in recent days on the fighting near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine. Russia has controlled the nuclear center since March, but Ukrainian workers operate it.

    Last week, both sides blamed each other for possible risks to Europe's largest nuclear center after several shells struck the area. The United Nations called for an end to military activities around the center and a visit by nuclear inspectors to ensure its safety. Ukraine officials say up to 400,000 people would need to be evacuated in the event of an accident

    Also, fighting continues in the Donbas area in the east and in Kharkiv to the north. A Ukrainian official said an overnight attack in the area was "one of the most massive shellings of Kharkiv in recent days."

    Some good news

    Some good news did come out of the area. A U.N.-operated ship loaded with Ukrainian grain is carrying humanitarian food aid to East Africa. It is the first such trip since the start of the war in February.

    An agreement supported by the U.N. and Turkey permits Russian and Ukrainian agricultural products to be shipped to Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Millions of people in those areas have been threatened with hunger and poverty because of increases in food and energy prices.

    I'm Mario Ritter.

    Hai Do adapted this report for VOA Learning English from Associated Press and Reuters sources.


    Words in This Story

    sabotage –n. the act of destroying or damaging something deliberately so that it does not work correctly

    annex –v. to add (an area or region) to a country, state; to take control of (a territory or place)