Russian military base explodes as Ukraine retaliates over grain strikes

Russian military base explodes as Ukraine retaliates over grain strikes

Flames engulfed the Kirovske military base in Crimea on Wednesday

Sam Montgomery

By Sam Montgomery

Published: 19/07/2023

- 17:58

Ukraine targets ammunition depot in Russian occupied Crimea in retaliation for Odesa grain attacks

Flames engulfed the Kirovske military base in Crimea on Wednesday morning, after a series of explosions ripped through a Russian ammunition depot.

Ukraine appears to have taken responsibility for destroying the arms stockpile, which led to the evacuation of 2,000 locals as fire spread across the Russian military training ground.

The attack on Russian occupied territory comes after two nights of relentless Russian barrage on the city port of Odesa, which is said to have destroyed 60,000 tonnes of grain.

Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence, said: “A successful operation was conducted on occupied Crimea.

Smoke and flames rise from an explosion during a fire at a military training ground in the Kirovske district, Crimea, July 19, 2023.


“The enemy is concealing the extent of the damage and the number of losses in manpower.”

Russian pro-war bloggers concurred that an ammunition depot had caught fire after a Ukrainian air attack.

Officials in Crimea, who were installed after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula in 2014, confirmed there had been no civilian casualties.

Moscow has repeatedly warned the West that it would be prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend the occupied territory of Crimea.

A view shows a grain terminal in a sea port damaged during Russian missile and drone strikes, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in an undisclosed location in Odesa region, Ukraine July 19, 2023.

Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry via Facebook/Handout via Reuters

Smoke billows at a site of storage facilities hit during Russian missile and drone strikes, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Odesa, Ukraine July 19, 2023.

State Emergency Service of Ukraine in the Odesa region via Facebook/Handout via Reuters

This comes after two nights of intense targeted shelling on Odesa, as Russian forces fired cruise missiles and drones on the Ukrainian port city.

At least 12 people were injured in the Tuesday night barrage, with the mayor of Odesa, Gennadiy Trukhanov, describing the onslaught as “hellish” and the biggest on the city since the start of the war.

The Ukrainian air force claims to have intercepted 23 kamikaze drones and 14 cruise missiles over the Odesa region.

Kyiv also claimed that the missile strikes had destroyed 60,000 tonnes of grain that was due for export.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with officials dedicated to an attack on the Crimean Bridge in Moscow, Russia July 17, 2023.

Sputnik/Alexander Kazakov/Kremlin via Reuters

Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, said: “The Russian Federation purposefully struck grain terminals and other port facilities. The main task is to destroy the possibility of sending Ukrainian grain.

“These are direct strikes on civilian infrastructure and the civilian population and blows to the global food programme.”

The attacks on Odesa came after Moscow withdrew from a Black Sea grain agreement which had permitted the safe passage of cargo ships from the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhny/Pivdennyi.

The Kremlin noted that the Odesa attacks had themselves been retribution for the Ukrainian attack on Kerch bridge.


A satellite image shows a rotated and close up view of the damaged span of the Crimea bridge in Kerch Strait, July 17,2023.

Maxar Technologies /Handout via Reuters

Ukrainian special forces are claimed to have ‘used water-based drones’ to carry out a deadly attack on the 12-mile long bridge that links the Russian occupied peninsula of Crimea to the mainland.

A source in Ukraine’s security service has claimed responsibility for the Monday morning attack, also alleging that the sabotage involved ‘direct participation’ of American and British intelligence.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, has since accused the West of failing to condemn what he described as an act of terrorism by Ukraine against Russia.

Moscow has said the bridge will be out of action until November.

It comes as Putin has cancelled a trip to South Africa over a threat of arrest.

The Russian President had been due to attend the BRICS summit next month.

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