Massive explosions and fires ripped through Crimea on Tuesday, forcing 3,000 residents to flee their homes as the war in Ukraine appears to spread to the peninsula occupied by Russia since 2014.
The Russian Defense Ministry accused the “sabotage” of explosions at a military warehouse near Dzhankoya. Power lines, a power station, a railway line and a number of residential buildings were damaged, the ministry said in a statement obtained by Russian media. Kommersant. The explosions were described as a diversion.
No serious injuries were reported. Another fire was reported at an electrical substation, but officials did not say whether it was related to the munitions explosions. “We are in a state of emergency,” said Sergey Aksenov, Russia’s head of administration in Crimea.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak did not say the country claimed responsibility for the explosions but tweeted: “A normal country’s Crimea is about the Black Sea, mountains, recreation and tourism, but Russian-occupied Crimea is about warehouse explosions and high risk of death for invaders and thieves.”
Last week, the Russian military attributed a series of explosions at Saki airbase in Crimea to an accidental detonation of munitions, but the incident appears to be a Ukrainian attack. Kyiv said the blasts destroyed nine Russian planes.
Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev warned last month that attacks on Crimea could lead to a “very quick and harsh apocalypse, immediately”.
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►German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he believed Sweden and Finland could join NATO “very soon”. Scholz said Turkey, which had backed down, appears content and the other six nations that have not approved the expansion are likely to soon.
►Swiss chocolatier The Lindt & Sprüngli group has announced that it will “leave the Russian market”. The company had temporarily suspended operations in March.
►More than 1,350 bodies of Ukrainian civilians killed by the Russian occupiers have been found in the Kyiv region, regional police chief Andrii Niebytov said.
►Russia’s Federal Security Service has accused Ukraine of blowing up electricity pylons three times this month near a nuclear power plant in the western Russian city of Kursk.
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Russia sees ‘no need’ to use nuclear weapons to achieve its goals in Ukraine
Russia does not need to rely on nuclear weapons to achieve its goals in Ukraine, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said, saying his country’s progress on the battlefield has dispelled the idea that the West can supply Ukraine with “superweapons” capable of radically altering warfare. results.
“From a military point of view, it is not necessary to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine to achieve the set objectives,” Shoigu said. “Claims that chemical weapons may be used in Ukraine are also absurd.”
Shoigu, speaking at the 10th Moscow Conference on International Security, said the West’s best weapons are “crushed in battle” and have had no major effect in combat.
In reality, leading US weapons such as the HIMARS missile system have been effective in destroying Russian ammunition depots and command centers and disrupting its supply lines, US and Ukrainian officials said. But the Biden administration has not sent Ukraine the longer-range weapons that could hit Russian targets hundreds of miles away.
Russia also benefits from an agreement freeing Ukrainian ships to transport grain
The deal that allowed Ukrainian cargo ships to leave Black Sea ports with thousands of tons of grain promised to alleviate hunger in African and Middle Eastern countries.
And indeed, more than 15 ships carrying almost half a million tons of agricultural products have left Ukraine since a July 22 agreement lifted the Russian blockade in place since the start of the war.
But Ukraine and the countries that receive its shipments are not the only ones to benefit. Russia is also reaping the benefits.
A less publicized feature of the UN-brokered deal with Turkey assures Russia that its food and fertilizers will not face sanctions like other industries, safeguarding one of the mainstays of its economy and helping to ease the concerns of insurers and banks.
Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter, accounting for almost a fifth of global shipments, and the country is set to experience one of its best harvest seasons this year. Agriculture accounts for about 4% of Russia’s gross domestic product and provides 5-6 million jobs per year.
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet falters
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet “is struggling to exercise effective maritime control,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in an assessment released on Tuesday. The fleet continues to use long-range cruise missiles to support ground offensives, but has been less effective due to the loss of its flagship – the now sunken Moskva – of a significant portion of its combat aircraft. Naval Aviation and Control of Snake Island, according to the assessment. said.
The losses undermine Russia’s overall invasion strategy, in part because the amphibious threat to the crucial Ukrainian port of Odessa has now been largely neutralized, according to the assessment: “This means Ukraine can divert resources to pressure Russian ground forces elsewhere”.
Russian Bucha killings ‘a crime against humanity’, says former UN chief
Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the world on Tuesday to pay tribute to the civilians who were killed when Russian ground forces attempted to invade the Ukrainian capital and eventually retreated from the vicinity of Kyiv. Ban, a former South Korean diplomat who served as general secretary from 2007 to 2016, traveled to Bucha, a town northwest of the Ukrainian capital where hundreds of civilians were found dead after the Russian withdrawal in late March .
“It’s hard to express my feelings. It is a horrible atrocity. It’s a crime against humanity,” Ban told The Associated Press after visiting St. Andrew the Apostle Church. He said those responsible should be held accountable.
Putin ready, ready to arm the world
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his allies “the most advanced types of weapons”, promising to expand military cooperation with countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Putin, speaking at an arms fair, applauded his army’s actions in Ukraine while touting the key role Russian arms exports play in developing a “multipolar word”, the term used by the Kremlin to describe its efforts to compensate for what it perceives as US world domination.
“We are ready to offer our allies and partners the most advanced types of weapons: from guns, armor and artillery to combat aircraft and drones,” Putin said.
Despite the Russian leader’s claims about advanced weapons, experts said the Russian military fared far worse than expected during the Ukrainian invasion, and the British Ministry of Defense recently said it was very likely that Russia is deploying “unreliable and unpredictable” Soviet-era mines.
Mercenary building bombed after online photo reveals address
A photo posted online by a pro-Kremlin journalist appears to have led to the destruction of a building that housed mercenaries fighting for Russia.
Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Russian-controlled Luhansk province in the eastern Donbass region, said on Monday via Telegram that a Ukrainian strike “hit an enemy headquarters, which was reported by a Russian media representative.” He said the death toll was still unknown.
The building hit on Sunday in the town of Popasna served as the base of operations for the Wagner Group, a private military company linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Haidai said.
A few days before the strike, Russian journalist Sergey Sreda published a photo of himself alongside four heavily armed men in combat gear, most likely Wagner mercenaries. At the top left of the photo, a sign with the address of the building is clearly visible. Sreda then deleted the post, but apparently not before Ukrainians saw it.
Contribute: The Associated Press