Thousands Evacuate When Fire Breaks out at Military Base in Crimea 

July 19, 2023

A fire broke out at a military base in Russian-annexed Crimea, forcing the evacuation of more than 2,000 people and a nearby highway’s closure.

It occurred on the military training ground in the Kirovske district on the Crimean Peninsula, according to Kremlin-installed Governor Sergei Aksyonov.

Russian media reported explosions and detonations in an ammunition warehouse. That location was confirmed by Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesperson for the Odesa military administration in Ukraine.

“Enemy ammunition depot. Staryi Krym,” said Bratchuk, referring to a small historical town in Kirovske.

Pro-Kremlin military bloggers speculated that either Ukrainian-made Grim-2 or Britain’s Storm Shadow long-range missiles could have been responsible for the fire, but Kyiv has so far not claimed responsibility for destroying the ammunitions depot.

“We can neither confirm nor deny,” Andrii Yusov, a representative of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, told Politico.

The fire occurred as Russia fired 31 missiles and 32 drones overnight, most of which targeted Odesa, one of Ukraine’s major port cities on the Black Sea. 

Ukrainian Air Defense Forces said they shot down 14 of the rockets and 23 of the drones, while 14 missiles hit ports and critical infrastructure around Odesa.

According to Oleg Kiper, who heads the Odesa military administration, Russia set most of its sites on Ukrainian ports for a second night in a row, after it pulled out of from the Black Sea Grain Initiative on Monday. 

Anton Gerashchenko, Advisor to Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs, posted video to Twitter  he said was of a fire that broke out in Odesa at a grain and oil terminal hit by X-22 and Oniks missiles. 

“A blast wave damaged residential buildings. At least 6 people, including a 9 year old boy, were injured,” said Gerashchenko.

The blast at the military base in Crimea also followed a deadly explosion on the Kerch Bridge, the only direct access way from the Crimean peninsula to the Russian mainland on Monday. Ukrainian forces have claimed responsibility for that attack.

PHOTO: Crimean military base fire

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