A MUSHROOM cloud erupted in the sky after an attack on a Russian airbase in Crimea that sent tourists running for their lives.
Amid speculation the facility had been hit by Ukrainian missiles in the nations first strike, President Zelensky vowed they will “never give up” the annexed region.
Footage from the scene shows a Russian warplane ravaged by the blastsCredit: East2west News
Several burnt out cars were also seen in the clip documenting the damage in CrimeaCredit: East2west News
Ukraine are rumoured to be responsible for the explosions at the military baseCredit: East2west News
A huge mushroom cloud erupted near a busy beach in CrimeaCredit: East2west News
Shocking footage shows the aftermath of the explosions that ravaged a Su-24M attack aircraft and a string of vehicles at the military base.
The motors were completely charred by the ensuing flames that followed the series of blasts at around 3.30pm local time.
Up to 15 explosions are said to have hit the Saki air base near Novofedorivka on the west coast of the peninsula.
Terrified Russian tourists were seen frantically hurrying from beaches amid the eruptions on Tuesday.
Ukrainian social networks were abuzz with speculation that it was hit by the country’s long-range missiles.
One of Kyiv’s military officials told the New York Times that the nation’s armed forces had launched the attack.
A team of saboteurs was suspected to have targeted Russian warplanes based at the airfield – 200 miles from frontline positions.
And Ukraine’s President only fuelled theories his military had orchestrated the shelling, determinedly telling the world Crimea will be freed from Russian occupation.
He said war in the region was “started” when Russia annexed Crimea, before insiting “we will never give it up.”
Zelensky added: “Russia has turned our penninsula – which has always been and always will be one of the best places in Europe – into one of the most dangerous places.”
Ukraine neither confirmed nor denied an air missile attack on the airfield, but warned: “This is just the beginning.”
But Russia’s state news agency Tass quoted an unidentified defence ministry source as saying the explosions were caused by a violation of fire safety rules and no warplanes were damaged.
The nation claimed the blasts were caused by ammunition explosions, but this was decried even by pro-Moscow sources.
Statements from Ukraine appeared aimed at confusing the enemy.
Their defence ministry sacrcastically said it “cannot establish the cause of the fire,” cautioning Russians the dangers of “smoking in unspecified places.”
One person was killed and nine wounded in the chaos, Russian authorities in Crimea said.
Bystanders also claimed a fire had englufed the runway of the military base, while nearby homes were also allegedly damaged.
It’s been claimed that Novofedorovka base was targeted by Ukrainian missilesCredit: East2West
The Russian base is belived to have been hit with rockets on TuesdayCredit: East2West
Another car was seen skewered by a metal pole in the aftermath
During the war, Russia has reported numerous fires and explosions at munitions storage sites on its territory near the Ukrainian border, blaming some of them on Kyiv’s forces.
Yet Ukrainian authorities have mostly remained silent about the incidents, maintaining an ambiguous stand and not claiming responsibility.
At least a dozen explosions were heard of varying intensity and huge columns of smoke were seen on a clip from the scene.
One local said: “It slammed so loudly that we were deafened.”
Another said: “Something is burning in Novofedorivka. There are some explosions as it burns.”
Video from the decimated site shows the damaged warplane and a car skewered by a metal pole, seemingly due to the blast.
Oleg Kryuchkov, advisor to the Vladimir Putin’s goons in region, said: “So far I can only confirm the fact of several explosions in the Novofedorivka area.
“I ask everyone to wait for official reports and not to invent new versions.”
Russia has turned our penninsula – which has always been and always will be one of the best places in Europe – into one of the most dangerous places.
The head of the pro-Moscow regime, Sergey Aksyonov, said he was heading to the scene to survey the damage yesterday.
Ambulances and air ambulances were sent to the site and information about any victims was still being established, the Ministry of Health of the region reported.
Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and has used the region as a staging ground for its attacks on Ukraine, but it has rarely been a target for Ukrainian forces.
It remains under Russian control, but has not seen the intense bombardment and artillery combat that have taken place in other areas of eastern and southern Ukraine.
At least three people were injured in the explosions, Russian media reported.
Among them was a 13-year-old boy with a cut wound on his forearm and a pensioner with a shrapnel wound.
Russian firefighters were kept away from the explosions, said reports, although it is not clear why.
Aksyonov announced an evacuation and a 5km safety zone around the explosions, confirming they were at a military airfield.
CHAOS IN CRIMEA
“Ambulance crews and medical aviation are working on the spot, there are enough of them,” he said. “It is too early to talk about the victims.
“Among the civilian population, no one has yet applied to medical institutions for help.”
About 30 people were evacuated from houses adjacent to the airfield.
Some 15 explosions were reported in 30 minutes in the barrage.
Detonations were said to be heard continuing to go off in the background.
The 43rd Fighter Aviation Regiment of the PKS of Russia is currently based at the airfield, which mainly consists of Su-30SM, Su-33 aircraft and Su-24M bombers.
A Russian defence source denied incoming missile fire, claiming: ”At around 3.20pm, aircraft ammunition detonated at the ‘Saki’ airfield near the village of Novofedorovka at a rubble storage site.
“No one was injured as a result of the explosion. No aviation equipment at the airfield was damaged.
“Measures are being taken to extinguish the resulting fire and investigate the cause of the explosion.
“According to the report from the site, there was no fire impact on the collapsed ammunition storage area at the airfield.”
Large swathes of the beach near the base were cleared following the explosionCredit: East2West
A five kilometre exclusion zone has been set up near the baseCredit: East2WestRussia is fighting for control of the Zaporizhzhia power plant, which is only a few hundred miles from Crimea
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