Over 2,000 inhabitants from four villages in the Russian-occupied Crimea are being evacuated following a fire that sparked hours of explosions at a neighboring ammunition depot. While the cause of the fire is yet to be explained, there are unconfirmed social media reports of three Ukrainian strikes. The incident occurred during a heavy Russian missile and drone attack on Ukraine’s southern city of Odesa.
by Brandon Mitchell
An urgent evacuation of more than 2,000 residents is currently underway in four villages in Crimea, which is under Russian control, following a fire incident that led to prolonged explosions at a nearby ammunition depot.
The local officials installed by Russia have also closed a section of the motorway that traverses the southern part of the peninsula. However, they have not provided an explanation for the fire that ignited at a military training ground in the vicinity of the city of Staryi Krim.
Social media is rife with unverified reports attributing the fire to three Ukrainian strikes. However, these reports have not been officially confirmed.
The explosions occurred overnight, coinciding with an intense Russian missile and drone offensive primarily targeting Odesa, a city in southern Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian air force, the attack involved multiple waves of cruise missiles and Iranian-manufactured drones launched from southern Russia, the Black Sea, and Crimea.
Despite Ukrainian defenses intercepting and shooting down 37 Russian missiles and drones, some managed to breach the defense lines. The extent of the resulting damage and casualties remains uncertain at this time.
This marks the second consecutive night that Odesa has been targeted, a tactic believed to be related to Russia’s withdrawal from an international agreement that ensured safe exportation of grain and fertiliser across the Black Sea. Earlier attacks on Odesa, a significant hub for Ukraine’s grain exports, have caused damage to port fuel facilities.
Russia has labelled its assault on Odesa as a “mass revenge strike” in response to an attack on the Russian-built bridge over the Kerch strait, which connects Crimea to Russia. Seaborne drones have been implicated in Monday’s strike that destroyed a section of the bridge and resulted in the death of a Russian couple.
On Wednesday, the fire at the ammunition depot in Crimea led to the closure of a 12km stretch of the Tavrida highway, linking the cities of Simferopol and Sevastopol to the bridge. This roadway was constructed by Russia’s occupation authorities in 2017.
Residents reported a series of explosions in the region from around 04:30 local time (01:30 GMT) on Wednesday.
Sergei Aksyonov, the Crimea head appointed by Russia, stated that the cause of the fire at the military range is under investigation, but confirmed that no injuries have been reported. He disclosed that the ongoing evacuation affects four settlements near the range in Crimea’s Kirovskyi district.
(Associated Medias) – All right reserved