“… Crimea airbase badly damaged…”

“How the base was damaged, or by what, is still unconfirmed.

William Alberque, from defence think tank IISS, has told the BBC that two buildings may have been used to temporarily store weapons, and would have been targeted for maximum impact on the fighter jets parked nearby.

The base’s runway, and permanent weapons storage sites located further away from the planes, seem untouched.

Mr Alberque says it is likely that cluster munitions were used, but Ukraine doesn’t have the kind of missiles needed to carry out this kind of attack.

If Ukraine is responsible, he suggests they used repurposed S-300 missiles, typically for surface-to-air attacks, or anti-ship Neptune missiles.

But Louise Jones, head of intelligence at McKenzie Intelligence, says the satellite images aren’t conclusive enough.

If makeshift missiles were used, Ms Jones says there’s no evidence they missed any potential targets.

“To be that accurate at that range with possibly an experimental munition is unlikely,” she suggests.

Another scenario would be a sabotage operation by Ukrainian special forces or paramilitary groups. Ms Jones says this isn’t impossible, but again highly unlikely.

A third option, she adds, is that the explosions were an accident – caused by a fuel leak, or ammunition exploding in one of the two storage sheds.

Russia has blamed the blasts on this latter option and said fire safety rules were being flouted on the base.

The before and after images from Planet Labs, which monitors hundreds of satellite feeds over Ukraine, are the first independent confirmation that the base may have been damaged. Until now, details about the extent of the explosions’ impact have been scarce.

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility and its defence minister suggested that careless Russian soldiers could be to blame.

“I think that Russian military guys in this airbase ruined their very simply known rule: don’t smoke in dangerous places,” said Oleksiy Reznikov. “That’s it.””

Comment: OK. Who votes for wunderwaffe and who votes for SOF+partisans? pl

Ukraine war: Crimea airbase badly damaged, satellite images show – BBC News

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49 Responses to “… Crimea airbase badly damaged…”

  1. Fourth and Long says:

    Beyond my bailiwick but I did read early this morning that a very large amount of C4 plastic explosive was included in a recent appropriation sent to Your Cranium by the once great United States. Don’t overlook the possibility of simultaneous spontaneous combustion in several distant places at once. After all, we take distant viewing and flying saucers seriously here.

    My reading of the western gnus outlet gives me the impression that the west very much wants Ru to believe that Your Cranium has been given significant powerful far reaching weep upons heretofore undisclosed publicly. Problem is, though it is purely my amateur surmise, I’m nearly certain that is true despite how this attack was or wasn’t accomplished.

    For example in my mourning email from Reuters:

    Satellite pictures showed devastation at a Russian air base in Crimea, hit earlier this week in an attack that suggested Kyiv may have obtained new long-range strike capability with potential to change the course of the war.


    No one is taking credit for it due to the threats by Putin re decision centers and Medvedev on “doomsday” following an attack on where the Light Brigade made history. (Cry Me a River).

    Much much more serious, imo, is the story of the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant (by Ukraine and the US obviously despite the hilarious coverage in the press) which is nearly simultaneous with Ryabkov’s statements about refusing the US sudden request for a SALT Treaty inspection. Antony Blinkenstein needs to go into Madam Tussaud’s wax museum of horrors now, immediately, not later.

  2. Jimmy_W says:

    Air-launched cruise missile. Harpoon/SLAM on Flanker, maybe.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      Yes. There’s also those so-called anti missile systems in Romania (aegis ashore?) which are said to be easy to reconfigure for offensive use. And there’s drones of various flavors – predators, reapers, baytraktars (excuse spelling – the Turkish product). Submarines etc. The Air force geeks like Hayden on Twitter seem to want it to be a bombing air strike rather than sabotage/spec ops. My overall impression is that the Your Craniums are not up to this speed on their own. See the foxnews link to the explosions now in Belarus and Russia.

      Will Biden be impeached? I think they’ve lost their minds. Where is gentle giant Lloyd with his slow but sure incremental weakening approach?

      It’s well to keep in mind Tom Friedman’s recent remark that the Whitehouse doesn’t trust Zelensky. But that could have been preemptive cover in service of protecting the real reckless ghouls in the US or UK. I don’t know.

  3. JK/AR says:

    Owing to the extent – blast/debris field – of the area, rather reminds me of the recent Beirut port explosion.

    Possibly I suppose SOF/Partisans but I think I’ll vote “accident.”

    • TTG says:


      The simultaneous twin explosions in two separate buildings doesn’t look like an accident to me.

      • JK/AR says:

        Yes well TTG, you’ll be noticing I place accident in quotes?

        The berms surrounding the aircraft emplacements, if it were an “accident” should have, it seems to me, been blown directionally away from wherever the blast occurred. That the berms seem unaffected (intact & distinct) would seem to indicate an airblast.

        However – in the absence of clear ‘claim/attribution’ one must I think [opinion] wait for further evidence. Therefore, again in my opinion, an “accident” until proven by a preponderance of the evidence of something else, would be my ‘go – to’

        Of course it could be TTG, quite simply an, Act of G-d.

        • Al says:

          JK/AR, note especially in the centered outlined square, the aircraft directly across the blast are significantly moved in a substantial angle from their previous positions. The barriers to the rear and sides of the aircraft did not protect from the blast directly in front..

          • JK/AR says:

            Yes Al, I gave some consideration of that grid but thanks for having me take a close look.

            About six, maybe eight years ago here in my little burb our airport took a direct hit from what’s known in meteorological circles as a downburst.

            Weird winds of course happen worldwide but owing to our topography we a particularly affected – note*


            Of particular interest to what I’m getting at, we have an overhead (no walls) capable of over-protection of 10 – 16 stacked Navy-style – civilian type aircraft. Figure 182 Skylane [Cessna] sized spaces.

            Anyway that particular downburst lifted the pier-anchored red iron roof [sheetmetal] right off the piers and into the trees some 400 yards distance. The unsecured planes “helicoptered” will-nilly while those tied down skewed similarly to those pictured.

            Now contrary to how I may seem to always be presenting myself hereon as ‘ignorant’ of matters military : Well all I’d qualify that with is that with ‘arty stuff’ I am but I have some small acquaintance with ‘things that go/went boom’

            (And since last TTG adressed me I watched that video – appears to me the interval between the two [three?] buildings going flash were not “simultaneous” but rather separated by [est.] near 50 or so seconds at least. … But the spectators certainly don’t seem alert to skyward so … [?)

            But really Al, I’d greatly prefer seeing more visuals & perspectives than just that one sat-imint – before I’d commit to anything close to a conclusion. Until such a point I’ll be leery of conviction.

            And after all, all Colonel Lang “asked for” was a vote. And I voted – “accident.”

          • TTG says:


            You’re absolutely right. The two main explosions/mushroom clouds are not simultaneous. I suppose a single Russian chain smoker could have dropped his butt in one ammo shack and that explosion could have thrown a flaming missile into the other ammo shack to cause that explosion. Incredibly flukey and improbable, but that could be your accident scenario.

  4. TTG says:

    The videos show two simultaneous or near simultaneous massive explosions. My guess is that the rest of the airbase damage was due to those two explosions and the ensuing ground fire. Some point to three craters about 20 to 25 meters in diameter as evidence of some kind of missile strike. If Russian cruise missiles were stored in those two buildings, they could be the source of those craters as they were thrown in the air from the two massive explosions. I’ve seen no evidence of any Russian AD systems being activated. Perhaps they are just incompetent or incapable of reacting to a missile strike or there was no missile strike. NATO air and satellite surveillance would know if this was a missile strike. They won’t tell us. At least not yet.

    I think it’s reasonable to see this as a well planned Ukrainian SOF strike, perhaps with partisan reconnaissance and security support. It could be hand emplaced explosives with delay fuses. It could be a stand-off weapon, a few man portable AT missiles, small drones or even mortars. What I can make out about the base defenses doesn’t seem too formidable. And I doubt the guard force would be crack troops. All in all, this is a very doable mission for Ukrainian SOF.

    Why would Ukrainian authorities keep us and the Russians guessing? Why not. The assertions that this was a home-grown Ukrainian weapon system would just cause the Russians more consternation. It’s certainly having an effect on Russians vacationing on Crimean beaches. There was a 100km traffic jam trying to cross the Kerch bridge back to Russia the day after the strike.

    • JK/AR says:


      Your “If Russian cruise missiles were stored in those two buildings, they could be the source of those craters as they were thrown in the air from the two massive explosions” ?

      Now understand anything I might *know concerning cruise missiles would be of the US varieties of TLAMs and TASMs (and my *knowledge of course only being of the ‘fair to middling’ sort of thing you understand? Of course I am aware us Hillbillianese aren’t a very sophisticated bunch but we do sport


      Some *limited acquaintance with the things.)

      Anyway. My question is – and I haven’t nary a clue of course about how the Rooskies “store” their munitions but – As the “some” you refer to in your comment “mention crater[ing]” – Do the Rooskies not even have those ‘Remove Before Flight’ flagged pins *we use before we’re directed toward the catapult?

      Only reason I ask – aside from my being an ignurnt hillbilly of course – is, seems to me if a cruise missile might get lofted into the air a’cause of a primary [*un-associated blast] Wouldn’t any cruise missile have been expected [designed fail-safe] to travel some distance before possibly cratering a runway?

      Ignurnt Hillbilly as I obviously am Al’s suggesting I look closer at the pictured mid-square damage got me to thinking and while I readily admit to possibly have “overthinked” – Still it seems to me even the Rooskies likely’d dreamt up a ‘fail-safe’?

      (I think it was some Ivy League guy and his girlfriend I and my girlfriend once shared a table with at Mardi Gras accidentally mentioning something about, ‘Were the pins not to be properly pulled the propellant chamber vents circularly avoiding a directionally-thrusted impact and thus the warhead is rendered impotent.’

      Soon as I heard that word ‘impotent’ I removed me and my girlfriend from Bourbon Street seeking alternate intellectual conversations.)

      At any rate TTG – I’m thinking it probably is best I change my vote from “accident” to SOF.

      Now precisely who’s SOF could be the more interesting question.

      • TTG says:


        If munitions are lofted into the air by a fiery explosion, they’re likely to be rendered unstable enough to negate normal failsafes. A hundred pounds or more of explosives hits the ground and the result might be a loud boom and a symmetrical crater.

        • JK/AR says:

          But not a (fairly) immediately cooked off airburst TTG?

          Yes I saw the er, beach-set not, seemingly concerned – except perhaps for the Babushka hollering “Get in the wooden house!” [as if] that [possible] Rooskie cruise missiles might could possibly be turtling their way – semi-inside joke : salt water turtles dig nests in the sand to hide both themselves but more importantly their eggnests – in the beach-set’s direction.

          (Seems odd at least to me, if cruises had lit off they’d only gone in one general direction rather than willy-nilly.)

          Mind TTG, I’m neither of a mind to or desirous of setting off arguing with you – undoubtedly any boom stuff you may have experienced with was definitely closer in than any I may have – but the limited material we both have to work with; and I think you’ll agree, is very limiting.

          Now if, perchance, there’s a “soonish” repeat …

          • TTG says:


            True, we’re all working with limited evidence. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this turns out to be a missile strike by either ATACMS or the Ukrainian made Grom (Thunder) SRBM. See my initial comments in this thread. The Grom supposedly has a 1,000 lb unitary warhead and I would think it would create a bigger hole than those 20-25 meter craters.

  5. Fourth and Long says:

    Various speculations in comments here – UK special forces etc. The main text leads me to think there are elements of some high commands who are out of the loop and others who don’t like this at all.

    More excitement (I jest). Haven’t checked this article’s comment section yet:
    Joe will be needing his aviator gun slashes soon.

  6. Al says:

    TTG, Four separate blast sites argues against “accidental” occurrence.

    I count at least 10 aircraft taken out or severely damaged in 3 of those blast sites (center, left, and bottom) Also, at the blast sites certainly a Hell of a lot of ordinance. However done, very effective.

    Will be interesting how that “100 km” caravan back into Mother Russia takes the news.

  7. Leith says:

    Some are suggesting the air defense systems were inflatable rubber dummies a la Patton’s Phantom Army with rubber tanks at Dover across from the Pas de Calais. Could well be. Or it could be that the S400 was busy looking south for an imaginary NATO strike?

    I vote for the SOF raid. Or maybe it was an inside job – not the actual sabotage itself, but perhaps taking a bribe to look the other way while Ukrainian forces cased the joint.

    Good to keep Putin guessing as to how the airfield defenses were breached. That way he has to defend against anything possible.

    • TTG says:


      There’s the Ruptly video of an interview in Crimea in front of a rubber S-400 system blowing in the wind.

      No matter what caused this airbase blow up, Putin has to do something about rear area security besides blasting more apartment buildings and hospitals in retaliation.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      If sof then Seals from a sub in black sea off the coast? There’s SAS too. There are other countries too from Nato and former SU. I seriously doubt the Americans would risk getting caught with their men in Crimea. So if SF it’s some murky foreign legion configuration or PMCs. The pics from the air could be fakes too. They may have bombed mockups in Utah for all we know. The bursts filmed on the ground aren’t fake, neither the vacationing folks leaving crimea weeping in their cars. Oh wait. The latter could be. I shouldn’t have read Descartes so carefully in college.

      • TTG says:


        I agree the US or other NATO countries wouldn’t risk such a direct attack whether direct action or missile strike. The Ukrainians are the most logical source of the strike, no matter how it was done… especially after so many years of working/training with our Green Berets.

      • Leith says:

        F&L –

        After six months of combat, the Ukrainian SOF don’t need the Seals, SAS, Green Berets or anyone else in the world to pull a raid for them. Plus they speak the language perfectly w/o accent and could pass thru any checkpoints. And they know the area well as it has only been eight years since some of them lived there themselves.

        Although I still maintain that they may have bribed an airbase sentry to gain access; or bribed a worker to give them the current layout of ammo storage.

        TTG – Where was the base fuel farm? Was it also targetted?


        • TTG says:


          I have no idea where the fuel farm would be. It appears nothing outside of the two buildings and the aircraft between them was targeted. I would think those two buildings were filled with both fuel and munitions trucks to service the nearby aircraft. I bet those who developed the target package for this knew exactly what was in the buildings and what effect blowing them up would have on the nearby aircraft. That’s what staff engineers are for.

        • Fourth and Long says:

          It makes perfect sense to me that years ago as assaults on Crimea were wargamed and options were drafted and debated that a primary element of such an operation would consist of raids which took out warplanes on /in airfields / airbases. It would amount to trying to play chess without moving your pawns not to. So it’s a given that such activities were thought out and practiced and critiqued and practiced again and once more etc. Then there’s the other covert aspects – the first that comes to my mind is bribery. Then there’s Londongrad and all the Russians and former soviets in merry England for thirty yrs now with their language skills and connections. There’s also been a Ukrainian grouping for ages in the UK going back to cold war days. Ditto in Canada and parts of the US (I’m thinking particularly of the Chicago area). So I’m not at all unconvinced by your presentation. It had to be not only eminently doable but necessarily something sketched out in detail in several variations.

          From a psychological point of view I suspect that the before and after pictures shown of the base – from aerial photos – incline a large number of people to think primarily of an attack from the air or some form of artillery that falls down from a great height. Similarly I know from self inspection that if I had only been shown ground level photos and video clips that I would have favored sabotage or SF assaults.

          Thanks. You’ve nearly convinced me. Before concluding I’d mention that the reports of no anti air or S-X00 anti missile activity doesn’t move me one way or the other, because I think, from reading other peoples analysis, that ammunition may have been used whose characteristics circumvented the aptitudes of the Russian air denial weaponry, which depends on distance, height of trajectory, speed as well as reflective aspects. There was a post on Strelkov’s telegram where someone figured out how it was conceivable. There’s also likely outright inattentiveness and less than run of the mill gunnery skills.

          Some of the data is astonishing – 61 apartment buildings? That could be misdirection. Or the Governor of Crimea simply misspoke or the subtitle translation was bogus or both. There’s also the factor of being prejudiced in favor of artillery or missiles due to being inundated with the Himars stories lately.

  8. cobo says:

    You know them rooskies gotta have their smokes (SOF+partisans!!!), and no telling what kind of gear is being smuggled up into Russia.

  9. Fourth and Long says:

    From a telegram channel translation by bot from Ru. Caponiers (chicken coops) are a type of fortification. I agree with this guy regarding more Nay toenails than Your Craniums, but I am a cipher. In another post by a Colonel Cassad he cautions not to naively accept the initial reports about explosions in Belarus because there are live fire exercises scheduled by Ru and Bel forces from Aug 5 – 25, which would make a deceptive story easy/plausible wo further investigation/confirmation.
    Following text is not by Strelkov but was forwarded to his channel.

    I believe that yesterday the airfield was hit with NATO weapons, i.e. this is a casus belli for the war, so there is such silence on the air. There is an option that it was the newest OTRK of Ukraine, but I put more on NATO.

    Satellite images of the airfield in Saki have appeared. Funnels are visible next to the caponiers of the parking lot of equipment. There was no BC nearby, the craters were separated from each other, i.e. the detonation was from the explosion of an unknown munition that fell at a distance from each other. The destruction of the caponiers is significant, i.e. the explosion was of such force that it not only led to the ignition of aviation fuel in airplanes, but also damaged the earthen caponiers so that it is visible from the satellite, leaving craters.

    I believe that yesterday the airfield was hit by NATO weapons, i.e. this is a belli incident for the war, that’s why there is such silence on the air. There is an option that it was the newest OTRK of Ukraine, but I’m betting more on NATO.

  10. Fred says:

    I vote for the comando raid.

  11. Jake says:

    Personally I do not vote, unless I know enough to know where the candidate will take us. Because it doesn’t matter if you have no clue. I assume that the Russians know, whether they assigned the blame correctly (lax safety), or not. They know, while the rest of us is guessing. And they will act in accordance of what they discovered. It doesn’t look like an accident to me, but some freak design-error might be to blame, I guess. Photographic evidence of the results won’t be enough to assign the blame.

    If it was a hit, or sabotage, the Russians will do their utmost to figure out how, but also who, since Ukraine denies responsibility. They will take their time, and be resourceful, after which they will hit that organization, irrespective of the flag it is flying, and make them feel sorry. They will not hesitate if this flag belongs to a NATO-country. Even if Special Operatives from a NATO-country were involved, they will hit that country and make them think again. Not a tit-for-tat thing, I would assume, but ‘Ouch!’

    Which reminds me that I would love to be able to vote before my country declares war on faraway shores. When did we drag that option through the shredder?

  12. MapleLeaf says:

    I vote for the latest demonstration of a domestically produced armed UAV swarm… gone wrong…

    Based on a modified/copycat version of this one:


    (in which case something like this might have been uttered at a the R&D centre responsible)
    Manager: “Yuri, I told you to name those variables differently! Code should be self documenting! Look here… shutter release timer was clearly swapped with weapon release one…. s*ka b**at!!”

    Yuri: “We shouldn’t have used the Moskva method!”

  13. walrus says:

    Whatever did this in my opinion is a precision guided munition with a CEP of maybe ten metres but professionals would know better than me. I base that opinion on what has NOT been destroyed. The “resolution” of the munition seems to be about ten metres.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      Comparison data exists because they’ve been hitting both bridges again very recently – pictures are available which purport to be of craters on the bridge to the hydro station.

    • borko says:


      that kind of ordinance is usually heard and/or seen before impact, yet no one reported or recorded anything like that.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        It was sabotage of some sort, not necessarily a standard SF operation classic movie raid. Think variations on truck bomb but fancier – a mother vehicle with baby vehicles within that go off a ramp and scoot to where they detonate. Facilitated most likely by lets say people who were in the RF forces but never really left the U forces. Think relatives, nepotism etc. A job for the frizbees now.

        • Pat Lang says:


          You obviously do not know what “a standard SF operation” is. You may be thinking of commandos or Rangers. What you describe after that is standard UW/SF/partisan stuff.

  14. borko says:

    planted explosive charges?

  15. Leith says:

    Forbes is reporting 18 fixed wing and six helicopters destroyed at Saky: “The explosions have destroyed as many as eight Su-27 fighters, four Su-30 fighter-bombers, five Su-24 bombers, six Mi-8 helicopters, and a unique Il-20 telemetry aircraft.”

    Supposedly it was a Russian source that the info came from. This is significantly more than the eight that many others reported, nine cited by Ukrainian MoD.


    • Al says:

      Lieth. In looking at the before/after, there appears to a line at the bottom, afterwards those aircraft are missing. Looks like they hightailed it out…but possibly damaged?

      • Leith says:

        Al –

        I have no clue. But perhaps Forbes’s Russian source is pulling their leg. Others are saying there were no SU-27s at Saky.

        Best to be like Colonel Lang and not speculate until more solid info is available.

  16. Barbara Ann says:

    Would you care to share with us your own ‘vote’ on the Saky airbase raid/strike Colonel?

  17. Barbara Ann says:

    Strelkov’s sardonic wit has me hooked. He just posted on Telegram a 3 point suggestion related to “The failure of the Russian military strategy in Ukraine”:

    1) shoot the entire politburo;
    2) repaint the Kremlin in a yellow-black color;
    3) start implementing a proven strategy of retreat to Moscow and Stalingrad in order to freeze opponents on the approaches


  18. Klapper says:

    I vote for long range HiMARS missiles, operated by USA private security since they don’t trust the Ukrainian rank and file not to blab, or to operate the system properly.

  19. Worth Pointing Out says:

    There is no video of the exact moment that the explosions took place, but there is phone footage of the resulting fireballs as fuel depots go up.

    The fireballs are identical in size and intensity i.e. both fuel tanks must have exploded at exactly the same time. They were, presumably, the two buildings top-right and extreme-left of the before-and-after satellite photos.

    Even if the Ukrainians got hold of 200km-plus HIMARS rockets (for Poland, perhaps?) I find it hard to believe that the incoming rockets would arrive at that base at exactly the same instant, even if fired from the same HIMARS vehicle.

    Sabotage seems a much more likely explanation.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      Parachute-dropped with timed fuses from friendly aircraft?

      Grabbing at straws.

      This amateur Brit seems to demonstrate that the Belarus strike on the same day was an “accident.” Maybe. Maybe it was prearranged with the Novofed attack for for various purposes. “See Ralph, the Belarus strike WAS an accident, so .. .” Or it was ordered us by Ru counterintelligence once Novofederovka was hit.

      Satellite Images of Damage at Zyabrovka Air Base in Belarus

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