The Russian Ministry of Defense has described as an act of sabotage the explosion this Tuesday of an arms depot in the Dzhankoi district, on the Crimean peninsula, according to the Russian agencies TASS and RIA, and also includes the Russian press. There have been two minor injuries, according to local authorities. The explosion has caused a series of explosions that have damaged an electrical substation, the railway network and several houses in the town of Maiskoe. Some 2,000 people have been evicted in a five-kilometre radius. Train circulation has been interrupted. Dzhankoi, in northeastern Crimea, is an important railway hub. Through this point pass the trains that come from Russia with material and reinforcements for the Russian offensive in southern Ukraine. Crimean Governor Sergei Aksionov has declared a regional “emergency situation”. This is the first time that Russia has acknowledged having suffered an attack in Crimea since the beginning of the war, 174 days ago. Last week, the Kremlin blamed a series of explosions that destroyed several planes at the Saki airbase on an accident. Ukraine neither confirms nor denies its involvementUkraine has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement in the Dzhankoi incident. Mijailo Podoliak, presidential adviser, has shared a message on social networks in which he has assured that the explosion was “demilitarization in action” and that Crimea has become dangerous for “invaders and thieves”. “Morning near Dzhankoi began with explosions. A reminder: Crimea of normal country is about the Black Sea, mountains, recreation and tourism, but Crimea occupied by Russians is about warehouses explosions and high risk of death for invaders and thieves. Demilitarization in action.” — Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) August 16, 2022 For his part, Andriy Yermak, chief of staff of the Ukrainian government, has written on Telegram that “the operation ‘demilitarization’ in the precise style of the Ukrainian Armed Forces will continue until the complete de-occupation of the Ukrainian territories.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has used the term “demilitarization” to justify his “special military operation” in Ukraine. Ukraine does not have weapons capable of reaching Crimea The Ukrainian armed forces do not have, at least officially, any weapon with sufficient range (about 200 kilometers) to reach Crimea from the territory it still controls in the south of the country. The US has so far refused to provide them precisely to prevent an escalation. An attack by aircraft or drones against the peninsula should be easily intercepted by the Russian anti-aircraft defense. By contrast, sabotage involves either the presence of kyiv agents inside Crimea or the infiltration of a commando. Russia, which unilaterally annexed Crimea in 2014, regards the peninsula as an inalienable part of its territory. Here is the headquarters of its Black Sea Fleet. The Kremlin has repeatedly warned that an offensive against Crimea is a “red line” and that crossing it would lead to an escalation of the conflict. For his part, the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, has declared that the objective of his Armed Forces is to recover all his territory, both the Donbas basin (southeast of the country) and the Crimean peninsula.
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