Day 175 of the Invasion of Ukraine: More Explosions in Crimea, Russia Admits it was Sabotage

World » UKRAINE | August 17, 2022, Wednesday // 10:44
Bulgaria: Day 175 of the Invasion of Ukraine: More Explosions in Crimea, Russia Admits it was Sabotage Another explosion in occupied Crimea @kyivindependent.com

Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:

The Russian offensive in Donbas and Donetsk has failed

The advance of Russia in the south and south-east direction was not successful. This was announced by Ruslan Muzychuk, the spokesman of the National Guard of Ukraine on a national telethon. Asked by the presenter what the prospects were on the southern front, he replied that recently the enemy's advances in those directions had been unsuccessful.

"There are two reasons for this. The first is that there is really a fairly robust defense system there. The Ukrainian military has a large network of defensive positions. Also, our intelligence works with the help of drones," Muzychuk said.

In addition, due to the destruction of the enemy's logistics and control systems, there have been no recent offensive actions from their side.

The spokesman of the National Guard noted that the Ukrainian side is aware of the movement of troops that has recently been observed in the southern and southeastern directions and appropriate measures are being taken.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky noted that fierce fighting continues in Donbas. In particular, the hottest points of the front in this direction remain unchanged - Avdiivka, Marinka, Pesky, Bakhmut, all relevant directions.

As noted in the ISW report, the occupiers are trying to divert Ukrainian forces from counterattacks in the south by attacking the Bakhmut and Seversk regions of Donetsk Oblast

This morning, the Russians fired more than five rockets from Belgorod at Kharkiv.

Oleg Sinegubov, chairman of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration, announced in his Telegram:

"Around 5 o'clock in the morning today, the defense headquarters registered the launch of more than five rockets from Belgorod. One of the rockets fell within the borders of the Slobodsky district in Kharkiv. The rocket strikes damaged residential buildings, and several fires broke out in Zolochevsky municipality. Previously, during day in Zolochiv, the occupiers hit a lyceum, damaged a football field, destroyed one residential building and damaged two. In Izium district, critical infrastructure was damaged by shelling, and grass in open areas was set on fire. According to the Emergency Center medical assistance a 22-year-old man was hospitalized in Zolohov with injuries from an explosion, his condition is semi-severe," he said.

Sinegubov also emphasized that throughout the day yesterday, the Russian occupiers were carrying out intense artillery and rocket attacks on the city and the region. At night, the Russians intensified their attacks. After 21:00, as a result of the shelling, the garages and machines of a farm in Chuguevski district were set on fire. After 11:00 p.m., as a result of shelling in Zolohovska municipality, Bogoduhov district, a garage and cars burned down.

Zelensky: Our #1 task is to make it increasingly difficult for Russia to wage war

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on all residents of the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russian forces to be careful and not to approach the military facilities of the Russian army.

The reasons for explosions there can be very different, but they have the same meaning - the destruction of military equipment saves the lives of our people”, the Ukrainian head of state stressed.

"Russia's leadership expects that Ukrainians, Europeans and the whole world will tire of this war. We must do everything so that not we nor our friends and partners tire, but that it happens to our enemies. To expel occupiers from Ukraine, every day we must make it more and more difficult for Russia to wage war. This is our number one military and political task," Zelensky said in his traditional address to the Ukrainian people posted on his website.

On Tuesday, a series of explosions rocked the Russian-annexed Crimea. An ammunition warehouse exploded in the northern part of the peninsula, and Moscow described the incident as "sabotage" and acknowledged that it was the work of armed groups loyal to Ukraine.

Russia's Federal Security Service attributed attacks on power lines at the Kursk nuclear power plant to Ukrainian "saboteurs".

Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement in the series of blasts in Crimea.

More explosions in Crimea. According to the NYT, a subversive Ukrainian unit is operating in the region

Eyewitnesses reported the third consecutive explosion in a week in the Russian-occupied Crimea on social networks and news agencies, and it is probably a matter of sabotage carried out by the Ukrainian army. The last explosions of the day were near the village of Gvardeyskoe, where there is a base of the Russian Air Force. The base is near Simferopol and Russian authorities are checking the version of a drone attack. As Kommersant reports, clouds of black smoke are rising over the base. Su-24M bombers and Su-25 attack aircraft are stationed at the base, and the military there is participating in the war with Ukraine, notes Radio Svoboda.

Earlier today, a warehouse for military equipment and ammunition exploded near Dzhankoi. They were carried out by an "elite Ukrainian military unit," The New York Times reported, citing an unnamed senior Ukrainian defense ministry official.

The Ukrainian side has not confirmed its participation. However, officials hinted that the destruction of the military warehouse was not a random incident.

The head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, wrote in Telegram to continue the "demilitarization" of Crimea and other occupied territories of the state until their complete "de-occupation". And Mihailo Podolyak stated that the peninsula as part of a normal country is "Black Sea, recreation, mountains and tourism".

Russia's Defense Ministry confirmed the first blasts, saying "a fire broke out" near Maiskoye on the territory of a temporary ammunition storage site at a military unit.

"The fire led to the detonation of stored ammunition. There were no serious injuries, measures are being taken to extinguish the fire and the reasons for it are being clarified," said the Russian Ministry of Defense.

On August 9, there were also heavy explosions at the Russian Air Force's Saki airfield near the village of Novofedorivka, destroying at least nine military aircraft, including SU-30SM fighters and SU-24M bombers.

Several buildings on the base that may have contained ammunition were also destroyed. Russia has used the Saki air base in western Crimea for regular strikes on Ukrainian territory since it launched its unprovoked invasion of the country on February 24.

The explosions at the airport are believed to have been caused by a Ukrainian long-range missile or kamikaze drones. The Ukrainian authorities neither confirmed nor denied this version. The Russian official version is again about a fire caused by non-compliance with fire safety rules.

Russia admitted that this morning's explosion in Crimea was the result of sabotage

The explosion in an ammunition warehouse on the Crimean peninsula today was caused by sabotage, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced, as quoted by TASS.

"On the morning of August 16, as a result of sabotage, damage was caused to a military warehouse in the area of the town of Dzhankoy," the statement said.

The Russian ministry specifies that the explosion also affected a number of civilian objects, including power lines, a power plant, a railway line and residential buildings. No people were seriously injured, the text notes.

The head of the Russian Republic of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, indicated that more than 3,000 residents of the villages of Maiskoye and Azovskoye were evacuated.

The first ship with Ukrainian grain reached ... Syria, a satellite photo shows

The first grain ship to leave Ukraine under UN-Turkey-brokered agreements appears to have arrived in Syria. This is evident from satellite photos of "Planet Labs", analyzed yesterday by the Associated Press, BTA reported.

Pictures show the Sierra Leonean-flagged ship Razoni docked at the Syrian port of Tartus shortly before 11 a.m. on Monday. The ship is located right next to a grain silo.

Data from the Razoni's Automatic Identification System (AIS) has stopped coming in since Friday when it was near Cyprus, according to the website MarineTraffic.com. Vessels must keep their AIS on, but when they want to disguise their route, they turn it off. Ships sailing toward internationally sanctioned Syria typically turn off their transponders, the AP said.

The Razoni can be recognized on a satellite photo by its color, length and breadth, as well as the four large white cranes on its deck. Samir Madani, co-founder of the oil tanker tracking website TankerTrackers.com and an expert in tracking ships using satellite images, identified the Razoni by these parameters. The "Financial Times" newspaper was the first to report on the "Planet Labs" photos, AP said.

"Razoni" departed from Odesa on August 1 with 26,000 tons of corn with an assumed destination of Lebanon. According to Lebanese media, the merchant who ordered the cargo refused. Before reaching Syria, the ship was in the port of Mersin, Turkey.

The UN coordination center in Istanbul, which under the scheme inspects the loaded ships, said that after the checks they sail to their final destination "whatever that is". Yesterday, the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut stated that the cargo of "Razoni" is no longer the responsibility of Kyiv.

Scholz: Direct communication with Putin is necessary

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he believed it was important to establish direct contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"As difficult as it is, direct communication is important, especially during a serious crisis. I want our messages to reach the Russian president directly," Scholz said in an interview with Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

He specified that in this way he wanted to convey to Putin the position of the West regarding the situation in Ukraine.

At the same time, the Chancellor of Germany added that he does not believe that relations between Russia and Germany can be normalized in the "foreseeable future"

Uniper: Gazprom is an unreliable gas supplier

The German energy concern Uniper believes that Gazprom is violating long-term gas supply contracts and has ceased to be a reliable supplier for the German market, according to the company's published report.

"From June 14, 2022 until today, Uniper receives from Gazprom only between 20 and 40% of the contracted volumes of gas. In this way, Gazprom violated long-term gas supply contracts and became an unreliable supplier for Uniper and the German gas market," the document states.

Due to the reduced gas supplies on the Nord Stream, Uniper is forced to buy gas on the market at significantly higher prices, notes the concern. Currently, gas supplies to Uniper via Nord Stream have been reduced by 80% and the company receives only 20% of the contracted volumes.

Uniper once again noted that it considers the force majeure circumstances declared by Gazprom to be unfounded and officially rejects them.

Uniper previously considered Gazprom's force majeure in relation to gas supplies a breach of contract and said it may take legal action over the matter.

Sandu: The Transnistrian issue will be resolved after the war in Ukraine is over

The president of Moldova, Maia Sandu, believes that after the situation in Ukraine calms down, there will be a good opportunity to solve the Transnistrian issue as well.

In an interview with the SP newspaper, Sandu said that when the conflict in Ukraine is resolved, "there will be good chances for a peaceful resolution of the Transnistrian issue." "I would like to say that it is very important for us to solve this issue in a peaceful way and, of course, respecting the internationally recognized borders of Moldova," she stressed.

The unrecognized republic was established on September 2, 1990 in the Moldavian territories on the left bank of the Dniester River, which are mostly populated by Russian speakers. They oppose the actions of the radical Moldovan politicians, who at the time sought to separate the republic from the USSR and unite it with Romania.

Chisinau tried to solve the problem by force. The armed conflict ended when a peace settlement agreement was signed in Moscow in July 1992 and Russian peacekeepers were allowed into the conflict zone. Since then, together with their Moldovan and Transnistrian counterparts, they have kept the peace in the region, giving Chisinau and Tiraspol the opportunity to negotiate.

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