Russia-Ukraine War: Latest News – The New York Times

videoSatellite images of the Saki airbase on Crimea’s western Black Sea coast taken before Tuesday’s explosions and after Wednesday’s.creditCredit…Planet Labs

With satellite images showing at least eight warplanes wrecked after explosions at a Russian air base in Crimea, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said late on Wednesday that Moscow’s mounting losses should persuade his leadership to “find a way out of the war”.

Images released Wednesday by Planet Labs, a satellite imaging company, appeared to show at least three explosion craters in areas where planes were parked near the runways of Saki Air Base on the western coast of the Sea Black from Crimea occupied by Russia, leaving blackened. leftovers Russia has played down the damage from Tuesday’s blasts, which a senior Ukrainian military official said were the result of an attack by Ukrainian forces and partisan fighters.

But with images indicating a costly and serious blow to the Russian military, Mr Zelensky alluded to the episode for the first time in his late-night speech, putting the number of warplanes at nine lost russians

“In just one day, the occupiers lost 10 combat planes: nine in Crimea and one more in the direction of Zaporizhzhia,” he said on Wednesday night.

The New York Times has reviewed satellite images of Saki Air Base, collected by Planet Labs hours before and a day after the explosions. The footage shows at least eight destroyed aircraft, both Su-24 and Su-30 warplanes, all parked on the tarmac west of the base. The planes cost tens of millions of dollars each.

In addition, two buildings near the plane appear to have been destroyed, and damage and extensive burn marks were seen elsewhere on the military base.

Credit…Planet LabsCredit…Planet Labs

Other parts of the base appeared intact, including several helicopters and a large ammunition depot.

A senior Ukrainian official said the blasts were an attack carried out with the help of partisans, but was not more specific, and the Ukrainian military has not publicly acknowledged any involvement. Military analysts have said that Ukraine does not have missiles that can reach the base from territory it controls, more than 100 miles away, and that Ukrainian planes would not have been able to penetrate that far into Russian-controlled airspace.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has downplayed the extent of the damage, saying a munitions explosion had left no casualties and no equipment had been destroyed.

But witness reports of multiple explosions at the base, and videos and photos posted on social media showing plumes of smoke rising from the scene and what appeared to be the nose cone of a jet, were puncturing the narrative of the Kremlin.

Yury Podolyaka, a prominent pro-Russian military blogger who is known for posting daily updates from the front lines, called the explosions “an act of sabotage coupled with negligence.”

“What did the commanders of this military unit think?” put in a video post. “I have a lot of questions for the commanders of this air force regiment: How can you keep ammunition like this?”

Authorities said at least one person was killed and more than a dozen were injured. Sergei Aksyonov, the Kremlin-installed leader of Crimea, said on Wednesday that at least 62 apartment buildings and 20 commercial structures had been damaged. He declared a state of emergency and raised the terrorist threat level in the peninsula.

Since seizing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, Russia has heavily militarized it and used it as a vital staging ground for military operations since its wider invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Still, the attack on the air base suggests that Ukrainian forces may be conducting guerrilla operations there.

Christoph Koettl and Ivan Nechepurenko contributed to the report.

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