An ammunition depot in Russia-annexed Crimea exploded early Tuesday in the village of Mayskoye, prompting a senior Ukrainian official to declare it “demilitarization in action”.
The explosions destroyed train tracks, injured two people and left 2,000 people stranded, according to video footage showing flames and smoke rising into the sky, and local news reports. The Russian Defense Ministry admitted on Tuesday that the explosions were the result of “sabotage”.
Mocking Russian President Vladimir Putin over the destruction, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted: “A reminder: Crimea […] is about the Black Sea, mountains, recreation and tourism, but Russian-occupied Crimea is about warehouses [sic] explosions and high risk of death for invaders and thieves. Demilitarization in action.
Mykhailo Podolyak’s remarks were aimed at Putin, who claimed that the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine was aimed at bringing about the “demilitarization and denazification” of its neighbour.
Although the cause of Tuesday’s explosions is not yet clear, several Russian planes were also destroyed last week in Crimea, in a strike that Ukrainian officials say marked the start of a counter-offensive in South.
The Russian side also said Tuesday’s incident was the result of a fire at the ammunition depot. Sergey Aksyonov, the top Russian official in Crimea, said on his Telegram channel that rail traffic would resume shortly and buses were being provided for passengers so they could continue their journey. POLITICO could not independently verify the battlefield reports.
Zelenskyy said in his Monday evening speech that Kyiv’s strategy was to destroy Russian ammunition depots adding that “all Russian terrorists should know that every meter of Ukrainian land is an absolute danger for them”.
Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014 and was used by Russian forces as a base from which to capture areas of southern Ukraine during the full-scale invasion that began in February.