Tourists watch as smoke rises from an explosion at Russia’s Saki airbase in occupied Crimea, August 9, 2022
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1321 GMT:
A co-founder of Amnesty International has quit the organization in protest over its report on the Ukrainian military and civilian areas.
“I have now been a member for almost sixty years. It is with a heavy heart that I, in view of Amnesty’s statements on the war in Ukraine, end a long and rewarding commitment,” said Per Wästberg.
Amnesty International’s report on August 4 said Ukrainian forces had established bases and weapons systems in residential areas, including in schools and hospitals.
Amnesty Ukraine challenged its parent organization, saying it had not been allowed any input into the report. Its head Oksana Pokalchuk resigned in protest on Friday.
Legal experts, diplomats, Western governments, and activists, as well as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, criticized the report.
Amnesty International apologized on Sunday, saying it “deeply regrets the distress and anger” that it caused:
This [report] does not mean that Amnesty International holds Ukrainian forces responsible for violations committed by Russian forces, nor that the Ukrainian military is not taking adequate precautions elsewhere in the country.
UPDATE 1314 GMT:
The Ukrainian military says it has inflicted heavy damage on another bridge in the Russian-occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine.
The military said the Kakhovsky dam bridge is unusable, denying Russian forces another supply route.
Ukrainian strikes have damaged all bridges across the Dnipro River and its tributaries, threatening to cut off Russian troops in the western Kherson region, including Kherson city, from the rest of the invading forces.
Serhii Khlan, an advisor to the Ukrainian head of Kherson’s Civil Military Administration, said Russian forces can no longer use the railway line from Kherson to Crimea.
“This is the branch that went through Kalanchak, Brylivka to the Oleshky railway station and across the railway bridge to Kherson itself”, Khlan said.
The advisor said “another convoy with equipment and ammunition was destroyed there yesterday,” matching reports of explosions in the Henichesk area.
UPDATE 1305 GMT:
A woman has been killed in a strike by four Russian missiles on the southern outskirts of the city of Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine.
Governor Oleksandr Starukh wrote that the woman had been found in rubble by emergency services, who were still digging through the destruction hours later: “Four private buildings have been totally destroyed. Several dozen houses have been left without windows and roofs.”
UPDATE 1121 GMT:
Continuing their harassment of former state TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, Russian authorities have raided her home.
They have opened a new criminal case against her with the charge of spreading false information about Russia’s military. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison.
Ovsyannikova rose to international prominence in March when she interrupted a broadcast on Rossiya 1 with a protest placard, “Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you here. Russians against the war.” She shouted, “Stop the war. No to war.”
She was fined 30,000 roubles ($494) for the intervention.
Last month, the journalist was seized by security personnel in the street. A Moscow court imposed a fine of 50,000 roubles ($823), claiming she had discredited the Russian military in social media posts.
Ovsyannikova’s lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov said the latest charge is probably linked to her protest last month, holding a banner, “Putin is a killer, his soldiers are fascists”.
UPDATE 0944 GMT:
Without referring to a strike on Russia’s Saki airbase in occupied Crimea, Ukraine’s General Staff says its forces destroyed nine Russian warplanes and helicopters in the last 24 hours.
The General Staff claims “about 42,800” Russian military personnel have been killed during Moscow’s invasion.
UPDATE 0801 GMT:
Ukrainian officials say at least 13 people have been killed and 13 wounded overnight by Russian shelling of Marhanets, near Nikopol in the Dnipropetrovsk region in south-central Ukraine.
Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said more than 20 buildings were damaged, including a hostel, two schools, a concert hall, and the main council building. Up to 1,000 people are without gas, and several thousand are without electricity.
Russian forces have stepped up bombardment of Nikopol in recent weeks. Some of the shelling has come from Russia’s base at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant across the Dnipro River.
Further to the south, three people, including a 13 year-old girl, were wounded and residential buildings were damaged by shelling of Mykolaiv.
UPDATE 0746 GMT:
President Joe Biden has signed the US ratificaation of Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO.
“Finland and Sweden’s decision to join NATO is a watershed moment for our Alliance. It will help ensure greater security and stability for our world,” Biden said.
UPDATE 0735 GMT:
Ukraine’s nuclear power operator Energoatom warns that occupying Russian forces are trying to disconnect the Zaporizhzhia plant from the Ukrainian electricity grid and to connect it instead to Russian-occupied Crimea.
Energoatom president Petro Kotin linked the plan to reported Russian attacks which have damaged electrical transmission lines of the nuclear plant, the largest in Europe:
The Russian military…are implementing the program of [Russian operator] Rosatom aimed at connecting the plant to the Crimean electricity grid.
To do this, you must first damage the power lines of the plant connected to the Ukrainian energy system. From August 7 to 9, the Russians have already damaged three power lines. At the moment, the plant is operating with only one production line, which is an extremely dangerous way of working.
When the last production line is disconnected, the plant will be powered by generators running on diesel. Everything will then depend on their reliability and fuel stocks.
Kutin referred to the nuclear accident in Fukushima in Japan in 2011:
We are already very close to this first stage of Fukushima-1, because there is only one line. As soon as it is turned off, the station will switch to diesel, and after that everything will depend on the reliability of their work and the sufficiency of the fuel that is there for diesel engines….
This is a dangerous situation, because if those stop you could have a disaster of melting nuclear materials.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine forces apparently carried out a missile strike damaging a Russian airbase in occupied Crimea on Monday.
There were several large explosions about 3:30 p.m. at the Saki base, with videos showing plumes of smoke from the stricken site. Russian officials in Crimea said one person was killed and 13 injured.
The base, on the Black Sea on the western coast of Crimea, is more than 100 miles from Ukrainian-held territory. Ukraine’s military has not been known to possess weapons with such a range.
Kyiv did not officially claim responsibility. However, senior Ukrainian military official confirmed the missile strike. One said, “This was an airbase from which planes regularly took off for attacks against our forces in the southern theater. A device exclusively of Ukrainian manufacture was used.”
Another said simply, “It’s just warming up.”
Reviewing the video, artillery specialist Thomas Theiner set a 90% probability that US-made ATACMS surface-to-surface missiles were used and 10% that cruise missiles hit the base.
The Russian Defense Ministry insisted that the explosions were caused by the detonation of “several aviation munitions”. The head of Russian State broadcaster RT, Margarita Simonyan, initially suggested Ukrainian sabotage but retreated to the “several munitions” line. She told people to “exhale and go to the beach”, as tourists tried to flee western Crimea.
A satellite photo showed 43 Russian warplanes on the base. Video indicated that at least one Su-24 attack aircraft was destroyed.
#Ukraine: New footage from the ground at the Russian airbase in Novofedorivka, #Crimea, shows that at least 1 Su-24M attack aircraft was totally destroyed due to a "violation of fire safety requirements". The real reason for the catastrophic explosions today is currently unknown. pic.twitter.com/sGRa0MtJZz
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) August 9, 2022
Zelenskiy Pledges “Liberation” of Crimea
In his nightly address to the nation, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, linked the invasion of Ukraine with the Russian occupation of Crimea since 2014.
This Russian war against Ukraine and against the entire free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea — with its liberation.
Russia has turned our peninsula, which has always been and will be one of the best places in Europe, into one of the most dangerous places in Europe. But we will return to the Ukrainian Crimea. From the Kharkiv region to Kherson, from Donetsk to Enerhodar, from Stanytsia Luhanska to Yalta, from Berdyansk to Novofedorivka — these are all parts of our country, this is Ukraine, which will be completely free.
Presidential Mikhailo Podolyak said earlier, “The future of the Crimea is to be a pearl of the Black Sea, a national park with unique nature and a world resort. Not a military base for terrorists. It is just the beginning.”
He later refused any official claim of responsibility, “Of course not. What do we have to do with this?”
The Ukraine Defense Ministry said wryly that all people should have regard for the rules of fire safety and “the prohibition of smoking in unspecified places”.