Russian Fighter Jets Destroyed in Apparent Attack on Crimean Airbase

Destroyed airbase in Crimea

Newly-released satellite images appear to show that at least eight Russian warplanes have been damaged or destroyed by an attack on Saky airbase in Russian-controlled Crimea.

Kyiv denied any involvement in the attack, but acknowledged a number of explosions at the airbase and said that nine Russian aircraft were destroyed. An adviser to President Volodomyr Zelenskiy suggested that the explosions may have been the work of partisans.

Russia downplayed the potential attack, saying that the explosions were from the accidental detonation of munitions and denying that any aircraft had been damaged. Russian officials said that one person had been killed by the explosion with 14 people injured.

Satellite imagery appears to contradict Russian claims though, with photos published by US-based private satellite operator Planet Lab showing what looks like multiple fighter jets damaged beyond repair.

A comparison with images taken before the explosions show that at least eight aircraft were damaged or destroyed.

With the evidence pointing towards a targeted attack, questions remain over how such an operation could have been carried out seemingly without any state actors involved.

British defense secretary Ben Wallace told the BBC that his department was still trying to establish the facts surrounding the possible attack, stating he thought it unlikely western weapons would have been involved. The airbase, he added, was a legitimate target under the rules of war.

Despite the denials from Kyiv, several political sources in Ukraine have said they believe the country’s military had carried out the attack.