Several Russian warplanes were destroyed after a series of blasts at one of its air bases in the annexed Crimea peninsula, multiple news outlets reported on Thursday crediting satellite images of the site. According to CNN, at least seven fighter jets were damaged by the explosions at Saky air base on Tuesday in which one person was killed. The outlet further said that the warplanes appear to be Su-24 bombers and Su-30. The Russian Ministry of Defense said the blasts were caused by stored ammunition and was not the result of any attack.
The satellite images also show the explosion burned a part of vegetation around the air base, CNN further said.
The BBC too reported on the blasts and said the runways appear intact. The images have been released by US-based Planet Labs, the outlet further said.
William Alberque, an expert on defence related issues, told the BBC that three building that were also damaged by the explosions may have been used to temporarily store weapons. Mr Alberque called it a targeted attack, but Ukraine has not claimed responsibility.
The air base lies 225 kilometers behind the Russian front line. It is close to the seaside resorts of Novofedorivka and Saky, but the Russian tour operators’ association said they did not appear to have been affected.
Russia’s defence ministry was adamant that the “detonation of several aviation ammunition stores” had caused an explosion, and said initially that no one had been harmed. It said there had been no attack and no aviation equipment had been damaged.
Crimea, a holiday destination for many Russians, has so far been spared the intense bombardment and artillery combat that other areas of eastern and southern Ukraine have suffered since Russian forces entered the country.