A blast reportedly rocked a Russian fighter jet airbase in Crimea today following a suspected Ukrainian drone strike.
Black smoke was seen billowing into the sky near the key base for Vladimir Putin’s Su-24M bombers in the village of Hvardiyske.
Footage showed the explosion’s aftermath, which shook windows in the houses nearby.
The Gvardeyskoye base is home to the 37th Guards Composite Aviation Regiment which flies the Sukhoi Su-24M – which are likely to be crucial for Russia’s air operations in the war in Ukraine.
It comes just hours after the Ukrainian Air Force Command said it shot down a Russian Su-24M near the besieged city of Bakhmut.
In a post after the explosion in Hvardiyske, Ihor Chychkin, head of the village’s administration, said “the air defence system was activated”.
The Russian-appointed head of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, claimed a drone was shot down in the region.
He wrote: “Fell into the field. There are no casualties or destruction.”
Russia continues to be fearful of Ukrainian strikes and sabotage on their soil potentially using drones.
There has been a spate of unexplained fires – sometimes triggered by explosions – in Russian territory and invaded areas.
Recent infernos have hit strategic oil and gas facilities including storage depots along with military facilities and airbases.
Another Russian airbase was rocked by explosions earlier this month.
Thick black smoke was seen billowing from the base for Putin’s Su-34 jets in the port town of Yeysk – located just 26 miles from Ukraine across the Sea of Azov.
Russian officials denied any attack took place – but locals reported two loud explosions.
In October last year, 13 people were killed in the same town after a fighter jet slammed into a block of flats sparking a huge inferno.
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