Ammunition-Laden Plane Skidded and Sparked Massive Fire at Crimea Airport

Ammunition-Laden Plane Skidded and Sparked Massive Fire at Crimea Airport
Ammunition-Laden Plane Skidded and Sparked Massive Fire at Crimea Airport

Crimea - A military plane laden with ammunition skidded off the runway at an airfield in Crimea on Saturday, setting off a massive fire. Photos and videos published on social media showed plumes of thick black smoke billowing over the area where the Balbek military airfield is located not far from the port city of Sevastopol.

Several witnesses also claimed to have heard explosions in the area. "The incident at the airfield was caused by a military aircraft," Sevastopol Mayor Mikhail Razvozhaev said in a post on Telegram as quoted by Russia Today, Sunday (2/10/2022). According to the mayor, citing local emergency services, the plane skidded off the runway during landing and caught fire. Later, Razvozhaev also said that the ammunition in the plane was detonated.

"The pilot of the plane survived," the mayor said. There have been no official reports of casualties. Authorities said the fire was immediately extinguished, adding that the airfield itself was not damaged. The developments come amid the ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The Crimean peninsula, which broke away from Ukraine after an armed coup in Kiev in 2014 and voted the most in a referendum to join Russia, has experienced several major incidents during the conflict.

A powerful explosion near a Russian ammunition depot rocked the village of Mayskoye in northeastern Crimea in August, while earlier in the month the Saki military airfield suffered a series of explosions that injured 14 people and killed one. The Russian Defense Ministry called the attack an act of "sabotage."

In early September, Ukraine's top commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, took responsibility for the attack on the Crimean facility, calling it a "successful series of missile strikes." Russia sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev's failure to implement the Minsk agreement, which was designed to give the Donetsk and Lugansk regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The protocol, brokered by Germany and France, was first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since acknowledged that Kiev's main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and "create a strong armed force."

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republic as an independent state and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that would never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian attack was completely unwarranted.

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