Yesterday, explosions and fires swept through ammunition storage in Russian-occupied Crimea, prompting more than 3,000 people evacuation. This was the second suspected Ukrainian attack on the peninsula in less than a week.
Russia attributed the explosions in Mayskoye to an "act of sabotage" without identifying the perpetrators.
Separately, the Russian business website Kommersant said that locals in Gvardeyskoye reported black smoke rising from an aviation base.
Ukraine refrained from openly claiming responsibility for any explosions, including last week's destruction of nine Russian aircraft at another Crimean air base. In 2014, Russia captured the Crimean Peninsula and used it to launch operations against Ukraine in the almost six-month-old conflict.
The war would escalate significantly if Ukrainian forces were responsible for the blasts. Such strikes may also suggest that Ukrainian agents can penetrate well into Russian-occupied territory.
In a second alleged act of sabotage, the Russian news agency Tass cited the FSB alleging that Ukrainian agents blew up six high-voltage transmission towers in the Kursk region of Russia, close to Ukraine, earlier this month.
As a condition for stopping the war, the Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine recognize Crimea as part of Russia. In contrast, Ukraine has promised to expel Russian forces from the Black Sea peninsula.
Videos on social media showed heavy columns of smoke rising over Mayskoye's blazing fires, and several explosions could be heard. The Russian Ministry of Defense reported damage to a power plant, electrical lines, train tracks, and apartment buildings.
Maksim Moldovskiy, a local neighbor, stated, "We came out to take a look and saw clouds of smoke coming from the cowshed where the military warehouses are," "We remained there till 7am or 8am. Everything was exploding, producing lights, pieces, and falling debris. Then the emergency personnel arrived and announced that everyone would be evacuated."
Sergei Aksyonov, the regional leader of Crimea, stated that two individuals were hurt, and over 3,000 were evacuated from two villages.
"The explosions are pretty powerful. Ammunition is dispersed throughout the ground "he said that several residences had burned down.
According to Ukrainian officials, in what may have been a reprisal for the assault in Crimea, Russian airplanes fired missiles at a military base in Zhytomyr, 140 kilometers (87 miles) west of Kyiv, damaging a runway and vehicles.
Crimea is a favorite summer vacation spot for Russians, and last week's blasts at Crimea's Saki air base sent sunbathers fleeing as flames, and smoke columns surged beyond the horizon.
Officials from Ukraine warned that Crimea would not be spared the destruction of war.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, stated on Twitter that occupied Crimea is not a tourist attraction but a place with a significant risk of death for intruders and thieves.
Russia attributed the explosions that occurred last week to an accidental weapons detonation. Still, satellite images and other data, including the dispersed blast locations, pointed to a Ukrainian strike, possibly with anti-ship missiles, according to military analysts.
In a recent intelligence assessment, the British Ministry of Defense stated that Russia's Black Sea Fleet is in an "extremely defensive posture" in the waters surrounding Crimea, with ships scarcely going out of sight of the coast. In April, the Russian flagship Moskva sank in the Black Sea, and Ukrainian forces recaptured the important Snake Island this month.
The poor efficiency of the Russian fleet compromises Russia's overall invasion strategy, according to the British. This allows Ukraine to redirect its resources to engage Russian ground forces elsewhere.
In addition to supplying Ukraine with munitions, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu asserts that Western partners have provided Ukraine with intelligence and instructors to assist it in operating weapons that can penetrate deeply into occupied territory.
"Western intelligence agencies not only have provided target co-ordinates for launching strikes, but Western specialists also have overseen the input of those data into weapons systems," Shoigu stated.