The night of August 18 was a hot one for Russian forces in Crimea with explosions be heard in several locations. Moreover, the combat zone is expanding rapidly. The total number of reports of shelling of facilities in Russia’s Kursk, Belgorod, Rostov Regions and Crimea is approaching several dozen and their intensity is increasing.

On the same night strong explosions also rang out in temporarily-occupied Kerch. However, occupying authorities claim that the anti-aircraft defense system worked. An aide to Sergey Aksyonov, the prime minister of the temporarily-occupied peninsula, said that according to preliminary information, there is no danger.

Explosions rang out at Russia’s Belbek military base in Sevastopol. Yet, Russian propagandists claim that nothing happened at the airfield and the explosions were the result of air defense at work. Mykhaiil Razvozhaev, the self-proclaimed governor of Sevastopol, said that a Ukrainian drone was shot down in that area. However,  Russian military veteran Igor Girkin reported fires and detonation there.

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The Belbek base is the largest airbase in Crimea, which after the occupation of the peninsula in 2014 serves only aircraft of the Russian military and space forces. The airfield is home to the 38th Fighter Aviation Regiment of the Russian Air Force, armed with 12 Su-27s, 12 modernized Su-27SMs, three training and combat Su-27UBs and five Su-30M2 two-seat fighters, as well as the Sevastopol Aviation Rescue center of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia.

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The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has yet to comment on this information.

A fire also broke out on the night of August 18 near the airfield in the village of Mizhvodne in  north-west Crimea. And again, neither the propagandists nor the occupation administration have officially commented, though some civilians said they heard explosions.

Blasts in Crimea have been going on for more than a week. They began on August 9 at the Novofedorivka military airfield near Saky, which is one of the key airfields for the Russians in their attacks on Ukraine. After all, bombers and fighters take off from there and pilots are trained there.

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There were also explosions in Dzhankoy District on the morning of August 16. According to local mass media, two “emergency events” took place in the area at once: a fire at a transformer sub-station in Dzhankoy and detonation at an ammunition warehouse in the village of Travneve. The explosion also damaged the railway, the route for trains heading from Russia to Crimea. Some people have asked for help to rebuild their homes, but the Russian authorities are ignoring such requests.

Russian occupying authorities deliberately avoid the word “explosion” in their explanations and instead use the word “accidents”, while propagandists use soothing euphemisms. This is because they don’t want to admit that the air defense systems turned out to be of poor quality and unable to counter well-aimed strikes by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. After all, since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine on February 24, Aksyonov has regularly emphasized that Crimea is protected by modern air defenses.

The Kremlin’s only reaction to the explosions in Crimea was to remove a statement by Russian security official Dmitry Medvedev about “doomsday” in the event of a Ukrainian attack on Crimea. The statement is no longer on Twitter, and any mention of it has been “wiped” from the social media platform.

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