MOSCOW (BLOOMBERG) – Russia lost nine fighter aircraft in blasts that shook an airbase in Crimea, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
“In just one day, the occupiers lost 10 combat aircraft, nine in Crimea and one more in the direction of Zaporizhzhia,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address to the nation on Wednesday (Aug 10).
More Russian armoured vehicles, ammunition warehouses and logistics routes were also destroyed, he said.
Russian officials have denied Ukrainian strikes caused Tuesday’s explosions at the Saky airbase, at least 200 kilometres from the nearest front lines.
They blamed munitions detonating at a warehouse amid lapses in safety regulations.
Satellite imagery showed apparently extensive damage to buildings and aircraft at the base that Russia has used to support its invasion.
Ukrainian officials have hinted their forces were involved and a top presidential aide warned the blasts were “just the beginning” of efforts to reclaim Crimea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed the peninsula in 2014 and has repeatedly declared Crimea an inalienable part of Russia, a claim rejected by the international community which regards it as Ukrainian territory.
People living in occupied territories should do all they can to aid Ukraine’s security services and military in expelling Russian forces, Mr Zelensky said in his address.
Defence ministers from nations supporting Ukraine who are meeting in Copenhagen on Thursday will discuss provision of more weapons to Ukrainian forces, he said.
“Only by ensuring Russia’s defeat on the battlefield, only by Russian losses – military, political, economic – can the return of security for Ukraine and the whole of Europe be brought closer,” Mr Zelensky said.
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