Satellite images show crippling effect of surprise attack on Russian airfield
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Featured Image Credit: Planet Labs PBC
Newly released satellite images show the crippling impact of a suspected surprise attack on a Russian airfield in occupied Crimea.
While the Air Force stated that 'around 10' aircraft were destroyed and affirmed 'glory to Ukraine', the country has not explicitly taken responsibility for the attack.
Around 10 🇷🇺 aircraft destroyed in Crimea.— Ukrainian Air Force (@KpsZSU) August 11, 2022
Glory to Ukraine! 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/XmIBAf0qyt
Details surrounding the attack remain unclear but an anonymous government official told The Washington Post the attack was the work of Ukrainian special forces.
Satellite photos show the devastated airbase, while a further comparison of pictures before and after the suspected attack by Planet Labs more clearly illustrating the significant damage.
The attack was said to have hit Su-30 and Su-24 fighter planes, which are typically used by the Russian airforce.
Eliot Higgins, from Bellingcat intelligence, said in a series of tweets: "First unrectified images of Saki Air Base in Crimea via @planet following yesterday's multiple explosions. There's clearly been a massive fire across the base following whatever happened there."
He followed up by saying: "Comparison of August 9th and August 10th imagery show very large craters, many destroyed aircraft, and destroyed buildings. It looks like a direct hit on the building on the left, so whatever it was seems accurate."
Comparison of August 9th and August 10th imagery show very large craters, many destroyed aircraft, and destroyed buildings. It looks like a direct hit on the building on the left, so whatever it was seems accurate. pic.twitter.com/QyLn86PUjw— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) August 10, 2022
The open-source intelligence group official went on to say: "I've looked over the whole airbase repeatedly, so I don't think I've missed anything. One thing that does stand out is there's no impacts visible that look like they could be misses, so either they used very accurate weapons or they got very lucky."
If carried out by Ukrainian special forces, the attack could mark an important turning point in the war, suggesting that covert Ukrainian operatives are successfully working behind enemy lines.
It also looks like another building was destroyed in the attack, unclear what its purpose was. pic.twitter.com/5avEdCEAcM— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) August 10, 2022
Eliot added: "I can't think of a time Russia has lost this many air assets in one day in recent memory, and they have to be deeply concerned about Ukraine's ability to do similar strikes elsewhere, especially the Kerch Strait Bridge."
However, Russia has said that the damage was the result of an 'explosion' caused by 'several aviation munitions [being] detonated'.
They did not specifically attribute the damage to Ukraine.
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