Nuclear flashpoint Crimea?


A series of explosions tore through a Russian airbase on the Crimean Peninsula Aug. 9, leaving one dead. Russia’s Defense Ministry said ammunition had detonated at Saki airfield, near the village of Novofedorivka. The base is some 200 kilometers from the Ukrainian lines, and President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office denied responsibility for the blasts. However, an unnamed Kyiv official anonymously told the New York Times that Ukrainian forces carried out an attack on the base. The official emphasized that “a device exclusively of Ukrainian manufacture was used.”

Zelensky later stated: “Today, there is a lot of attention on the topic of Crimea. And rightly so. Because Crimea is Ukrainian, and we will never give it up. This Russian war against Ukraine and against all of free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea—with its liberation.”

But last month, in response to the arrival of US High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) in Ukraine to support the counter-offensive in Kherson, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev implied that Ukrainian strikes on targets in Crimea would meet Russia’s stated criteria for use of nuclear weapons. Speaking to TASS news agency, he called the refusal of Ukraine and Western powers to recognize Moscow’s control of Crimea a “systemic threat” to Russia, adding: “Should anything of the kind happen, they will be faced with a doomsday, very quick and tough, immediately. There will be no avoiding it.” (Moscow Times, The Telegraph, Politico, Asia Times, Reuters)

Map via Wikimedia Commons

  1. Another mysterious blast in Crimea

    For the second time in a week there were mysterious explosions in Russian-occupied Crimea. A Russian ammunition depot blew up Aug. 16 in the peninsula’s northeast, just 30 miles from the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson. (PBS)