A blaze in a transformer substation in Russian-occupied northern Crimea after an explosion, August 16, 2022
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1329 GMT:
The Ukrainian military says at least 12 Russian occupiers have been killed in a strike on a base in Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine.
Footage on Telegram showed numerous burnt-out trucks and collapsed buildings.
UPDATE 1311 GMT:
Ukrainian officials say they expect five ships to arrive for loading at the Black Sea port of Chornomorsk on Wednesday, in the largest convoy since a July 22 deal to lift the Russian blockade.
The ships will carry more than 70,000 tons of agricultural products, including wheat, corn, and sunseed oil.
Ukraine’s sea ports authority said 24 ships carrying food have sailed since the blockade ended.
UPDATE 1307 GMT:
Svitlana Korotun, mayor of the village of Verkhny Rohachyk in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, has reportedly been kidnapped by Russian occupiers.
Yury Sobolevsky, first deputy speaker of Ukraine’s regional legislature, said Korotun was taken from her home on Tuesday to an unknown location because she refused to cooperate with the Russians.
UPDATE 0715 GMT:
In his nightly address to the nation, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said of the blasts in Russian-occupied Crimea:
The reasons for the explosions in the occupied territory can be different, very different….
But they all have the same meaning: the destruction of the occupiers’ logistics, their ammunition, military and other equipment, command posts saves the lives of our people.
The fewer opportunities the occupiers have to do evil and kill Ukrainians, the sooner we will be able to end this war by liberating our land.
He noted the surge of people departing the peninsula, “The queue these days to leave Crimea for Russia across the bridge proves that the absolute majority of citizens of the terrorist state already understand or at least feel that Crimea is not a place for them.”
Zelenskiy’s advisor Anton Geraschenko tweeted:
38,297 cars have crossed the Crimea bridge on 15th August, Russian state media TASS reports, citing the local department of road management.
This is a record amount of cars to cross the bridge in one day.
I wonder whether the record will be beaten today. pic.twitter.com/q1XbWTfJ2c
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) August 16, 2022
UPDATE 0655 GMT:
The latest Russian attacks across the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine killed two civilians and injured seven on Tuesday.
Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said the fatalities were in Avdiivka and Zaitseve.
Russian missile attacks on the Odesa region on Wednesday morning injured three people, destroying a recreation center and several buildings.
The Russians used Kh-22 anti-ship missiles from Tu-22M3 strategic bombers, according to Odesa military spokesman Serhii Bratchuk.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukrainian forces struck again in Russian-occupied Crimea on Tuesday, detonating an ammunition depot and damaging a railway and a transformer substation.
The substation in Dzhankoi in northern Crimea was set on fire about 6 a.m. Moments later, the ammunition depot in the nearby depot of Maiskoye was ablaze.
Officials announced an evacuation within a 5-km (3-mile) zone. Trains were halted because of the damage to the railway line near the ammunition depot.
Dzhankoi is an important railway hub, about 125 miles from the frontline in southern Ukraine. It is used to transport troops and equipment to the port city of Melitopol, seized by the Russians in the first days of the February 24 invasion.
Russian media also reported blast at a military airfield in the village of Hvardeyskye, near Crimea’s regional capital Simferopol. The base has a large number of Sukhoi warplanes, used by the Russian navy.
— Kyrylo Ovsianyi (@KOvsianyi) August 16, 2022
“Demilitarization In Action”
On August 9, the Ukrainian military carried out an operation against Russia’s Saky airbase in western Crimea, even further from the frontline. At least eight Russian warplanes were destroyed and the runway was damaged.
As with the explosions on the airbase, Ukrainian officials did not detail yesterday’s operations. Analysts have speculated that the cause could be long-range missiles — even though Ukraine was not known to possess them up to now — or drones called in by Ukrainian special forces. Ukrainian partisans have also been active in the neighboring Kherson region, carrying out sabotage and attacking Russian occupation officials.
A “former senior Ukrainian official” told the UK’s Guardian that Ukraine has intelligence assets working deep behind enemy lines.
Without claiming responsibility, advisors to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy celebrated. Anton Gerashchenko circulated footage, while Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted immediately after the explosions:
Morning near Dzhankoi began with explosions. A reminder: Crimea of normal country is about the Black Sea, mountains, recreation and tourism, but Crimea occupied by Russians is about warehouses explosions and high risk of death for invaders and thieves. Demilitarization in action.
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) August 16, 2022
Andriy Yermak, Zelenskiy’s Chief of Staff, pledged, “’Operation Demilitarization’ in the jewellery [precise] style of the Armed Forces will continue until the complete de-occupation of Ukrainian territories.”
“More Attacks in Next 2 or 3 Months”
Podolyak later told the Guardian that there may be more attacks in the “next two or three months”.
Our strategy is to destroy the logistics, the supply lines and the ammunition depots and other objects of military infrastructure. It’s creating a chaos within their own forces.
He jabbed at Moscow’s denials of Ukrainian involvement in the explosions, saying the Russians have “a different physics” if they genuinely believe that the blasts were caused by discarded cigarettes.
The US-based Institute for the Study of War summarizes that Ukrainian operations in Crimea are linked to the developing counter-offensive in southern Ukraine, looking to reclaim areas seized by Russia in the first phase of the invasion.
Attacks on Russian positions in and around Crimea are likely part of a coherent Ukrainian counter-offensive to regain control of the west bank of the Dnipro River.
Russian supply lines from Crimea directly support Russian forces in mainland Ukraine including those in western Kherson Oblast. Ukraine’s targeting of Russian ground lines of communication and logistic and support assets in Crimea is consistent with the Ukrainian counteroffensive effort that has also targeted bridges over the Dnipro River and Russian logistical support elements in occupied Kherson Oblast.