Ukrainian attacks in Crimea arouse concern in Russia | International
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The ghosts of war awaken in Crimea. The destruction this Tuesday of another Russian strategic military enclave – an arms depot – on the Black Sea peninsula, annexed by the Kremlin in 2014, has sparked concern among the Russians, who see that nothing is untouchable in the rear despite being more than a hundred kilometers from the southern Ukrainian front. “It is an emergency situation,” acknowledged Sergei Aksionov, the boss imposed eight years ago by Moscow in the region. Ukraine has thus not only hit an enemy arsenal on the occupied peninsula and has damaged rail transport, key to the Russian occupation forces in the occupied province of Kherson, but also brings the war to the eyes of Russian tourists in Crimea. They had lived almost half a year oblivious to the fighting their country was waging, more than a hundred kilometers from the front, and now they leave the region in buses because their rail routes have been cut off.
The official version of the Russian Defense Ministry is that the military depot in the Dzhankoi district, in northern Crimea, was destroyed on Tuesday by a Ukrainian group of saboteurs. Railroad tracks and a power plant have also been damaged in the attack. kyiv has neither confirmed nor denied its authorship, although a Ukrainian source from the American newspaper New York Times He has stated that it would have been the action of an elite unit from the occupied country infiltrated behind Russian lines.
Once the ban on Ukrainian attacks has been opened, the tension in Crimea is constant. According to the Russian newspaper Kommersantseveral witnesses have seen a column of smoke rise over another military airfield and the authorities are investigating whether the event, which occurred near the town of Gvardéiskoye, could have been an attack.
The alleged threat to Russian nationalism in an emblematic place like Crimea was precisely one of Putin’s pretexts to justify his offensive against Ukraine in February. This location had lived outside the war until last August 9, when the Saki air base was destroyed with the loss of several Su-24 and Su-30 fighter planes, in addition to its ammunition depots. The Russian Ministry of Defense stated then that the explosions were due to an accident, while a source from the Government of Volodímir Zelenski assured EL PAÍS that it was the result of a special operation.
That day a video of the massive traffic jams caused by the explosions went viral. “I don’t want to leave Crimea at all. How good it is here! It was like home! ”, Sobbed a Russian woman inside the vehicle in which she was fleeing the peninsula. This Tuesday, more than 3,000 inhabitants of the Maiskoye and Azovskoye settlements have been evacuated, while rail transport has been interrupted. “Train passengers who had to go to Simferopol (the capital of Crimea, in the center) will be taken by buses to Vladislavovka (in the eastern area that connects with Russia by the bridge in the Kerch Strait),” the governor announced. of Crimea, who before the irruption of the Russian troops in 2014 barely had 4% of the votes in the last elections to the Parliament of the Ukrainian province.
According to the Association of Russian Tour Operators, the explosions on Tuesday could cause a reduction of up to 10% in customer reservations in accommodation on the peninsula. “There is no panic among tourists”, the association has assured despite this, although its businessmen “do not exclude that tourists who planned to go to Crimea, including those who travel by car (more than 90%), adjust their plans. It is likely that there will be those who choose another, more peaceful place,” the organization admitted in a statement. Air traffic has been suspended in Crimea since February 24, the day the invasion began.
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In any case, kyiv has found in the attacks in Crimea a way to shake Russian public opinion, and the adviser to the Ukrainian president, Mijailo Podoliak, has added salt to the wound this Tuesday on his Twitter profile: “Crimea of a normal country is the Black Sea, mountains, rest and tourism. Occupied by the Russians are explosions in warehouses and a high risk of death for invaders and thieves”.
Morning near Dzhankoi began with explosions. A reminder: Crimea of normal country is about the Black Sea, mountains, recreation and tourism, but Crimea occupied by Russians is about warehouses explosions and high risk of death for invaders and thieves. Demilitarization in action.
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) August 16, 2022
The alleged threat of saboteurs hovers beyond Crimea. This same day the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has denounced that other Ukrainian sabotage groups would have attacked the power lines of a nuclear power plant in Kursk, a Russian region located in the north of Ukraine. “These actions led to the violation of the technological procedures that govern the operation of the nuclear power plant,” underlines the statement released by the Russian body just when kyiv and Moscow accuse each other of putting another nuclear plant, the one in the Ukrainian region, at risk. of Zaporizhia, and to use it as an instrument of pressure against the advance of the Ukrainian forces in the south of the country.
In addition to saboteurs, the Ukrainian threat is also in the form of a medium-range missile. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned in June that the arrival of US Himars could push Russia to push its forces deeper into Ukraine. Two months later, and with several Russian installations destroyed by these missiles, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has underestimated their importance. “The special military operation has dispelled the myth that the superweapons that the West supplies to Ukraine are supposedly capable of radically changing the situation on the front lines,” Shoigu told a security conference in Moscow. “Before they talked about Javelin anti-tank systems and some special drones; and lately they present Himars multiple missile launchers and long-range howitzers as superweapons. However, these are also killed in combat and do not have any significant influence”, he added.
The Russian defense minister has also claimed that his country is waging a “hybrid war” with NATO in Ukraine. Shoigu has lamented that kyiv not only has the money, weapons and information provided by the West, but also that its forces are being directed by foreign specialists. “The operations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are planned in Washington and London,” he denounced.
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