Let’s Talk About The Explosions That Rocked Russian Navy’s Saki Air Base In Crimea

Crimea explosions
A photo of the smoke coming from Saki Air Base after the explosions. In the box: the destroyed Su-24 bomber. (Photos from Twitter)

Sources say it might be the result of a Ukrainian attack, but no official word from Ukrainian MoD yet. Russia denies the attack.

Massive explosions, visible from miles away, rocked a Russian airfield near Novofedorivka in Crimea on August 9, 2022, at about 15:20LT. The airfield in question is Saki Air Base, home of the Russian Navy Black Sea Fleet’s 43rd Independent Naval Attack Aviation Regiment (43 OMShAP), which flies Su-24 Fencer bombers and Su-30 Flanker fighter jets.

The cause of the explosions is not clear at the moment. A statement from the Russian Ministry of Defence says that the explosions originated from “violations of fire safety rules” which resulted in “several aviation munitions destroyed”, without damages to the airbase and aircraft and without victims. The officials also say “there are no signs or evidence that it was done deliberately.”

“As a result of the explosion, no one was injured. Aviation equipment at the airfield was not damaged,” says the statement released to the press. “Measures are being taken to extinguish the fire and find out the causes of the explosion. According to a report from the site, there was no fire impact on the bunded ammunition storage area at the airfield”

The Ukrainian MoD didn’t acknowledge an attack on the Crimean airfield, but some anonymous officers told the New York Times that the Ukrainian forces were behind the attack, but they did not elaborate on how it was performed, other than saying that “a device exclusively of Ukrainian manufacture was used.” The airfield is more than 200 km from the frontlines, well behind the reach of many Ukrainian weapons, including the Tochka-U Short-Range Ballistic Missile system, which has a range of about 120 km.

Either way, videos surfacing online, which have been geolocated at Saki Air Base, are showing the opposite of what has been disclosed to the press by the Russians. At least a Su-24 Fencer bomber has been completely destroyed on the flight line, and heavy damage can be seen throughout the airfield. Since satellite photos always show aircraft parked in close proximity on Saki’s apron, it is possible that multiple aircraft have been either damaged or destroyed.

The timing of the supposed attack is also interesting, as few hours later Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said that the war will end after Ukraine gets back all occupied territories, including Crimea. Yet Ukraine still denied any responsibility for the explosions. Meanwhile, Russian nationals on vacation in Crimea are now being evacuated, according to Russian officials.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.