A weapons depot at the Belbek airfield, the main base of Russian military aviation in Crimea, suffered significant damage in the early hours of Thursday, May 16, following a long-range missile attack, according to reports by Atesh partisans.

The strike led to prolonged detonation of the main warehouse of missiles and artillery weapons, resulting in considerable damage to the airfield infrastructure.

The depot stored most of the bombs and missiles for Su-27, Su-30, and MiG-31 fighter-bombers that have been attacking Ukrainian cities and infrastructure. The secondary explosions caused further destruction across the airfield.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, in the pre-dawn hours of May 16, drones and missiles were intercepted over four Russian regions, with additional attacks targeting Crimea.


In the Belgorod region, the governor reported that two people were injured when multiple rocket launchers reportedly shelled the city of Shebekino. The attack damaged eight private homes and several cars.

The governor of Sevastopol in the occupied Crimea stated that fragments from a downed missile damaged private houses and a car, while an explosive wave shattered six windows. No casualties were reported.

Further drone interceptions occurred over the Tula, Bryansk, and Kaluga regions, with no reported injuries or damage.

One day before this attack, in the early hours of Wednesday, May 15, powerful explosions hit Belbek airfield in Crimea and set fires burning for hours, in long-range strikes the Kremlin said were American ATACMS missiles fired by Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) gunners.

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Local social media followed by regional officials reported more than twenty explosions of varying intensity audible in the vicinity of Belbek airfield beginning shortly before 2 a.m. Moscow time and lasting about ten minutes.

Officials from Kremlin-occupied Crimea, in early statements, said Ukrainian forces had launched long-range missiles at Belbek airfield but that everything was shot down.


Later official announcements, among them by the Moscow-appointed “mayor” of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhaev, said US-manufactured ATACMS missiles had been used in the alleged failed strikes.

The Russian officials claimed Russian air defenses intercepted all the ATACMS, but some of the US-made precision-guided weapons had dispersed cluster munitions, prompting the authorities to warn the public not to touch them.

Before Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 the Russian Air Force usually based between 20-40 combat fighters and bombers at Belbek full time.

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