Massive explosions have rocked a key Russian air force base on the Crimean Peninsula, annexed in 2014. Videos circulated on social networks showing detonations and large clouds of smoke in the immediate vicinity of Black Sea beaches. They are said to have been taken in the village of Nowofyodorovka, not far from the seaside resort of Yevpatoria. One person was killed, Crimean boss Sergei Aksjonov said, according to Russian agencies. Nine other people, including two children, were injured, according to local information.
The cause of the explosions at the Saki base was initially unclear. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said it could not say anything about the cause. Observers suspected an act of sabotage, since the Ukrainian troops on the mainland are more than 200 kilometers away. According to the current state of knowledge, the Ukrainian army does not have any missiles of this range, not even because of arms deliveries from abroad.
However, a report in the New York Times, citing a Ukrainian military source, spoke of an attack. A weapon developed by Ukraine itself was used, the newspaper quoted a senior Ukrainian military officer as saying. "It was an air force base from which planes regularly launched attacks on our forces on the southern front," the officer said. Local partisans loyal to Ukraine also played a role in the attack.
"This is just the beginning," wrote Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak. Crimea has a future as a travel paradise without Russian occupation. August 9 is the International Day of Indigenous Peoples, declared Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Wereshchuk. In Ukraine, these included the Crimean Tatars, Karaims and Crimean Chaks. "Today's explosions in Nowofyodorovka are further evidence of who owns Crimea." Internationally, the peninsula with its more than two million inhabitants is still considered Ukrainian territory.
Russia: Anti-aircraft installation around Ukrainian nuclear plant
After the repeated shelling of Europe's largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhia in Ukraine, Russia is equipping the plant it occupies with its own anti-aircraft defense system. "The power plant's air defense systems will be strengthened," Yevgeny Balitsky, head of Moscow's military administration in the region, told Russian state television.
Moscow and Kyiv blame each other for the attacks. According to local and Moscow sources, an ammunition depot at an air force base on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, annexed by Russia, exploded.
Russian Military Administration: Akw is operating normally
According to the Russian military administration, the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is currently operating normally. Power lines and damaged blocks of the kiln have been repaired, said the head of the authority, Balizki. According to Ukrainian sources, three out of six blocks were still in operation before the shelling at the weekend. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sees no immediate threat to nuclear safety. This was announced by IAEA boss Rafael Mariano Grossi at the agency's headquarters in Vienna. Ukrainian authorities informed the IAEA that although there was damage, radiation measurements remained at normal levels.
So far, Russia has refused to allow experts access to the facility. According to Moscow, it now wants to allow a visit to the International Atomic Energy Agency. "From our side, we are ready to provide the maximum possible support to resolve organizational issues," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. At the same time, Moscow accused the United Nations of allegedly canceling an inspection trip that had already been planned, thereby causing a new escalation.
Intelligence agencies: Russia focused on defense in southern Ukraine
According to British military experts, Russian troops have focused their efforts in recent days on repelling a Ukrainian counter-offensive in the south of the country. Nevertheless, the Russian attacks in the eastern region of Donetsk have continued, according to the daily intelligence update from the Ministry of Defense in London.
Latvia: State of emergency extended at border with Belarus
Latvia has extended the state of emergency on the border with Belarus until November 10. That was decided by the government in Riga. The state of emergency has been in effect for almost exactly a year. It was decided in August 2021 because thousands of migrants wanted to get to Poland or the Baltic States via the EU's external borders. The European Union accuses the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko of bringing migrants from crisis regions to the EU's external border in an organized manner.
Kremlin criticizes demand for a travel ban for Russians
The Ukrainian demand for an international travel ban for all Russians has triggered heavy criticism in Moscow. The statements by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy were received "extremely negatively," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Interfax agency. Zelenskyj had previously told the Washington Post: "The most important sanctions are to close the borders, because the Russians are taking their land away from others."
For Interior Minister Faeser, Putin is a war criminal
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser regards Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal for his war of aggression in Ukraine. Faeser answered the question "Do you think Vladimir Putin is a war criminal?" at the "RND on site" series of events organized by the German editorial network in Potsdam with a resounding "Yes".
"Of course, this is subject to the preservation of evidence and the rule of law," said the SPD politician. But in view of the suffering that Putin has caused in Ukraine, one can probably call him a war criminal. At the end of July, Faeser visited the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and the war-ravaged city of Irpin together with Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil.