Putin blow as two of the ‘most important’ Russian airfields in Crimea rocked by shelling

Ukrainian forces target Russian soldiers in drone attack

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In an update, the UK Ministry of Defence said: “On 16 August 2022, both Russian and Ukrainian officials acknowledged that an ammunition dump had exploded near Dzhankoi in northern Crimea, where a nearby railway and electricity sub-station were also likely damaged. Russian media also reported that smoke was rising from near Gvardeyskoye Airbase in the centre of the Crimea.”

The MoD added: “Dhzanjkoi and Gvardeyskoye are home to two of the most important Russian military airfields in Ccrimea.

“Dzhankoi is also a key road and rail junction that plays an important role in supplying Russia’s operations in southern Ukraine.

“The cause of these incidents and the extent of the damage is not yet clear but Russian commanders will highly likely be increasingly concerned with the apparent deterioration in security across Crimea, which functions as rear base area for the operation.”

This comes as Russia continues to suffer a series of setbacks in its war against Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian air defences brought down three elite Russian Ka-52 choppers over the course of three days.

Reporting the losses, war correspondent and former US Navy SEAL Chuck Pfarrer described the blow as a “hat trick”.

And earlier this month, Ukrainian forces reportedly shot down almost every single missile launched in a Russian air strike.

A spokesperson for Ukraine’s Air Force Command, Yury Ihnat, reported that Ukraine’s air defence intercepted seven out of eight missiles launched in a Russian strike.

The missiles were launched from the Caspian Sea on the evening of August 2.

They targeted southern, central and western Ukrainian oblasts.

The day before, two Russian rockets were shot down over Vinnytsia, Vinnytsia Oblast Governor Serhii Borzov said.

Mr Borzov said anti-aircraft alerts over the city were working effectively.

But details of the area where the rockets were targeting have not been disclosed.

Throughout the war so far, as many as 40,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, according to estimates from the Ukrainian armed forces.

As many as 22 aircraft and 190 helicopters have reportedly been wiped out.

Amid the heavy losses suffered by Russia, earlier this month the Kremlin accused the US of playing a direct role in the Ukraine war.

A spokesperson for Moscow’s defence ministry, Lt Gen Igor Konashenkov, alleged the US was approving targets for American-made HIMARS rocket systems, which are used by Kyiv’s forces.

He said intercepted calls between Ukrainian officials revealed the link.

Mr Konashenkov said: “It is the Biden administration that is directly responsible for all rocket attacks approved by Kyiv on residential areas and civilian infrastructure facilities in settlements of Donbas and other regions that caused mass deaths of civilians.”

Ukraine has denied the US was providing direct targeting information.

A spokesperson for the Pentagon said it provided Ukraine with “detailed, time-sensitive information to help them understand the threats they face and defend their country against Russian aggression”.

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