Ukrainian officials have made conflicting claims about a series of blasts at a Russian air base in Crimea that, according to Crimean authorities, killed one person and injured 14 more. Russia has downplayed the incident, saying it was caused by an accidental ammunition explosion, and is investigating the cause.
On Tuesday, Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, denied that Ukraine was behind the blasts. “Of course not. What do we have to do with this?” he said when asked if Ukraine was responsible.
But on Wednesday, an anonymous Ukrainian government official told The Washington Post that the explosions were an attack carried out by Ukraine’s special forces, which, if true, would mark a significant escalation in the war. The official didn’t offer any details of how the attack was carried out, and at this point, nothing is confirmed.
Ukraine has not officially taken credit for the blasts, and Russia continues to downplay the incident. In his nightly address on Tuesday, Zelensky didn’t mention the explosions, but he did discuss Crimea, which has been controlled by Russia since 2014. “Crimea is Ukrainian, and we will never give it up,” Zelensky said.
Not long before the blasts, Ukrainian officials said they were preparing to launch attacks on Crimea and suggested they could use US-provided weapons. On July 31, a small drone hit the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, but the damage was minimal, and it’s still not clear who was behind the attack.