Russian-occupied Crimea was hit by more explosions last night, prompting two very different statements from Kyiv and the Kremlin about the cause.

What do we know for sure?

There was definitely at least one explosion in the city of Dzhankoi in the north of the Crimean Peninsula, no one is denying that.

What has Ukraine said?

Without taking responsibility, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed the blast had destroyed an unspecified number of Kalibr cruise missiles “during their transportation by railway.”

A statement by the intelligence directorate of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said: “An explosion in Dzhankoi city in the north of temporarily occupied Crimea destroyed Russian Kalibr-KN cruise missiles as they were being transported by rail.”

It added that these missiles are “designed for launches from surface ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet” and have a range of “more than 2,500 kilometers against land targets and 375 kilometers against sea targets.”

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But they didn’t claim responsibility?

Not directly, although they weren’t exactly subtle, adding: “The mysterious ‘cotton’ continues the process of Russia’s demilitarization and prepares the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea for deoccupation.

🇺🇦 Glory to Ukraine!”

What’s ‘cotton’?

We’ll hand over to journalist Olga Tokariuk who explained the pun perfectly in this tweet last year…

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest address to the nation was mostly a repetition of previous rhetoric and did not address Transnistria’s appeal for Moscow’s protection.

What did Russia say happened?

The Russian-installed head of the Dzhankoi administration, Ihor Ivin, said the city had been attacked by drones, injuring one man.

He claimed a house, school, grocery store and part of the city’s power grid had been damaged.

“All the drones targeted civilian sites,” he said on Telegram. “One was hit over the Dzhankoi technical school and came down between the instruction area and a student residence.

“There are no military sites nearby. The others were downed in residential areas. In addition to explosives, each one carried shrapnel.”

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Is he fibbing?

Neither Ukraine’s nor Moscow’s claims have been independently verified but it’s widely known that Russia has a large airbase at Dzhankoi.

And according to Ukrainian military intelligence, not only is there an airbase, but it’s Russia’s largest in Crimea.

“The enemy keeps reserves in the north of occupied Crimea to strengthen its troop groups,” deputy chief of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Brig. Gen. Oleksiy Hromov, said last year.

“The city of Dzhankoi and the adjacent areas have actually turned into the largest military base in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea, from where Russian occupation troops and weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces are redeployed.”

Earlier you said “more explosions” in Crimea?

Crimea, illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, has regularly been the site of explosions over the last year.

Up until around August of last year it was still a popular holiday destination for Russian tourists, but sites like the one in the tweet below somewhat dampened the holiday mood on the peninsula.

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On a rare trip outside Moscow, Vladimir Putin visited the area over the weekend to mark the ninth anniversary of the peninsula’s annexation.

Russian state TV showed him visiting the Black Sea port city of Sevastopol during his unannounced visit to Crimea on Saturday, accompanied by the local Moscow-appointed governor Mikhail Razvozhayev.

He then visited the devastated Ukrainian city of Mariupol for a very bizarre PR stunt in the early hours of the morning, under the cover of darkness.

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