Ukraine attacks Russian targets in the south

Seven Russian warplanes were destroyed by huge explosions that rocked the Crimean airbase

(Credit: Planet Labs)

At least seven Russian warplanes were destroyed after explosions rocked annexation of Crimea on Tuesday, new satellite images show, in what CNN’s investigation found could be Moscow’s biggest loss of military aircraft in a single day. since World War II.

The destroyed warplanes appear to be Su-24 bombers and Su-30 multirole fighters, said Peter Layton, a fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and a former Australian Air Force pilot, who examined Planet Lab satellite photos showing the airbase. of Saki before and after the explosions.

Two other warplanes appear to have been damaged, Layton said. On Wednesday, the Ukrainian military added nine aircraft to the count of Russian military hardware it says has been destroyed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said it could not determine the cause of the explosions at the airbase, which is 225 kilometers (140 miles) behind the Russian front line, according to the Institute for the Study of War think tank.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the explosions were caused by aircraft munitions, but did not say how it was detonated.

A video on social media, verified and geolocated by CNN as coming from the air base, shows smoke rising from the base before being rocked by three large, fiery explosions that send black mushroom clouds skyward. Two of the explosions occur almost simultaneously and a third occurs shortly after.

Satellite photos also show that the explosions burned a strip of vegetation around part of the air base.

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