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Explosion at Russian airbase sparks debate over whether it was a Ukrainian attack

Powerful explosion rocksRussianair base inCrimeasending clouds of smoke towering over landscape on Tuesday, escalating warUkraineAt least one person was killed and several injured, according to authorities.

The Russian Ministry of Defense denied that the Saki base in the Black Sea had been hit, instead saying munitions were blown up. However, Ukrainian social networks were flooded with speculation that the country had been hit by long-range missiles launched by Ukraine.

Videos posted on social networks show people sunbathing on nearby beaches as huge columns of flame and smoke rise above the horizon from multiple points, making a loud noise. was seen running away. Crimea Today News said in a telegram that witnesses reported fires on the runway and damage to nearby homes from dozens of explosions.

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Russia's state news agency TASS cited an unidentified ministry source who said the main cause of the explosion was believed to be a "violation of fire protection requirements." said no.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine sarcastically stated on his Facebook:

During the war, Russia reported numerous fires and explosions at ammunition depots in its territory near the Ukrainian border, some of which it blamed on the Ukrainian strike. Ukrainian authorities are largely tight-lipped about the incident.

Ukrainian nuclear chief calls for demilitarized zone near Zaporizhia factory amid shelling

Russian forces in Crimea The first major attack on the facility was the Kremlin's annexation in 2014. It was caused by a small explosion last month at the Russian Black Sea Fleet Command in the Crimean port of Sevastopol. Ukrainian saboteurs using makeshift drones.

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Russian Fighter uses the Saki base to conduct short-term attacks on areas of southern Ukraine.

One person has died, said Crimean regional leader Sergei Aksyonov. Crimean health officials said nine people were injured, one of whom remained in hospital. Some were released after being treated for cuts caused by shards of glass.

Moscow officials have long warned Ukraine that any attack on Crimea would trigger massive reprisals, including attacks on "decision-making centers" in Kyiv.

READ MORE: Ukraine accuses Russia of spreading "nuclear terror" and shelling power plants

The Ukrainian president has promised to retake Crimea from Russia.

"This Russian war against Ukraine and against all of free Europe must begin in Crimea and end in Crimea - its liberation," President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a nightly video on Tuesday. said in a speech. "Today it is impossible to say when this will happen. But we are always adding the necessary elements to the Crimean liberation formula." reported that at least three Ukrainian civilians were killed and 23 wounded by Russian artillery fire within 24 hours, including an attack near the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.

According to Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentin Reznichenko, Russian forces fired more than 120 rockets at the town of Nikopol, across the Dnieper from the power station. He said several apartments and industrial sites were damaged.

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Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of shelling the power plant, Europe's largest nuclear power plant, sparking international fears of catastrophe. provoking.

The governor of the region where the plant is located, Oleksandr Stark, said Tuesday that radiation levels were normal. But he warned that regardless of the direction the wind was blowing, an accident could spread the radiation and carry it to Moscow and other Russian cities.

A Russian-based official in the partially occupied Zaporizhia region said the factory's air defense system would be beefed up in the aftermath of last week's shelling. The head of the Kremlin-backed regime, Yevgeny Baritsky, told Russian state television that damaged sections of power lines and other plants had been repaired.

In recent weeks, Ukrainians have been While launching a counterattack in the Russian-occupied territories in southern Ukraine, it is trying to hold off Kremlin forces in the eastern industrial Donbass region.

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