A blast hit a Russian ammunition depot in the northern Dzhankoi district of Crimea on Tuesday, injuring two people, in an incident the Russian Defense Ministry described as an act of “sabotage.”
“On the morning of August 16, as a result of an act of sabotage, a military warehouse near Dzhankoi was damaged,” the Russian Defense Ministry said, according to the Russian news agency Tass. Russian authorities said that a fire broke out at the depot, causing the ammunition to detonate.
A senior Ukrainian official speaking on the condition of anonymity to The Washington Post said the blast was a Ukrainian special forces operation. Last week, Ukrainian officials speaking to the media made similar claims about a blast at a Russian airfield in Crimea, an incident Moscow downplayed and insisted was the result of an accident.
Officially, Kyiv has not taken credit for Tuesday’s blast, but Ukrainian officials celebrated the incident and hinted that Ukrainian forces were responsible. “Morning near Dzhankoi began with explosions,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky, wrote on Twitter.
“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,” Podolyak added.
The apparent Ukrainian attacks inside Crimea mark an escalation in the war and come after Ukraine threatened to start attacking the peninsula, which Russia has controlled since 2014. The US does not want Ukraine using US-provided arms to launch attacks on Russian territory, but the ban doesn’t appear to apply to Crimea since Washington doesn’t recognize the peninsula as Russian.