Ukrainian government officials are teasing the likelihood of more strikes and 'sabotage operations' inside Russian controlled Crimea, after having cheered on at least two recent large explosions at military sites.
Kiev officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky himself, are reportedly warning that all civilians should "stay away from potential targets" in Crimea. This follows the Kremlin on Tuesday admitting for the first time that the recent explosions were the "result of sabotage".
Following the latest incident, the Russia's defense ministry said, "On the morning of Aug. 16, as a result of an act of sabotage, a military storage facility near the village of Dzhankoi was damaged."
This is the clearest indication yet that in addition to the Dzhankoi munitions depot blast, the prior Aug.9 massive explosion at Russia's Saky airbase, some 200km deep inside, was also a Ukrainian attack - as some Ukrainian officials had already leaked to US newspapers.
The Saky airbase incident had also set off discussion over whether US-supplied HIMARS rockets could reach that far. If indeed there were foreign weapons systems behind it, it could set the US and Russia on a dangerous path of escalation and collision as the proxy war could fast develop into direct confrontation between superpowers in Ukraine.
The Kremlin has warned even of nuclear confrontation among superpowers if the war is to spiral outside of Ukraine's borders. But while Russia sees Crimea as its own, going back to a popular referendum among the pro-Russian population in 2014, both Kiev and the West view Crimea as still part of Ukraine's sovereign territory which was illegally "annexed".
The Guardian publishes on its front page a straight-out Ukrainian government press release urging the West to give it even more weapons, written up by the paper's resident MI6 stenographer Luke Harding.— Jonathan Cook (@Jonathan_K_Cook) August 17, 2022
Oh, and it would like you to pay for this service... pic.twitter.com/bXcabDlyCo
According to fresh reporting in The Guardian, these Crimea sabotage events are part of a new broader strategy of creating "chaos" for Russian forces:
Ukraine is engaged in a counteroffensive aimed at creating "chaos within Russian forces" by striking at the invaders’ supply lines deep into occupied territories, according to a key adviser to the president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Mykhailo Podolyak told the Guardian there could be more attacks in the “next two or three months” similar to Tuesday’s mysterious strikes on a railway junction and an airbase in Crimea, as well as last week’s hit on Russian warplanes at the peninsula’s Saky aerodrome.
Russia said a fire on Tuesday had set off explosions at a munitions depot in the Dzhankoi district of Crimea – an incident that Podolyak said was a reminder that "Crimea occupied by Russians is about warehouse explosions and high risk of death for invaders and thieves".
According to the satellite images there were 23 planes located at Saky military airbase in Crimea. 12 Sukhoi Su-24, 10 Sukhoi Su-30CM and 1 Ilyushin Il-76. Still to be confirmed.pic.twitter.com/Ir8mEsZtje— Altavista 🇪🇺🇺🇦 (@na_intel) August 9, 2022
Another standoff which threatens to escalate into international confrontation is ongoing at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. Ukrainian officials have said that some 500 Russian troops are occupying it, which is Europe's largest...
Russian-installed officials have accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the city of Enerhodar, where the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is located, according to Interfax news agency, while Ukraine blamed Russia for shelling the city of Nikopol, across the Dnieper river.
Over recent days, Zelensky has said his forces will target any Russian forces at the plant. "Every Russian soldier who either shoots at the plant, or shoots using the plant as cover, must understand that he becomes a special target for our intelligence agents, for our special services, for our army," Zelenskiy said in a weekend address.
The Ukrainian president's own recent words suggest that Russia's accusations that it is the Ukrainian side shelling the nuclear plant are accurate. However, the West has been charging Russian forces with shelling the plant (which begs the question of why Russian forces occupying said plant would be shelling themselves).