Several ATACMS strikes at Dzhankoy airbase destroyed five S-400 launchers, 15 helicopters and killed 30 Russian airmen

“About 30 Russian servicemen were killed and about 80 were wounded at the airfield in Dzhankoy,” a Crimean-based Telegram channel called Crimean Wind reported on Wednesday. Crimean Wind is a pro-Ukrainian monitoring group that focuses on Crimea and generally offers reliable information.

Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern forces, described Dzhankoy as a legitimate military target on Wednesday but declined to offer up further details.

A prominent Russian military blogger, Rybar, said Ukrainian forces had attacked the Russian air base at Dzhankoy using around a dozen Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, missiles. The missiles were launched in two waves, the blogger said.

Footage widely circulated on social media by Russian and Ukrainian sources early on Wednesday showed bright flashes of light and explosions, with sirens wailing in the background. Data from NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System, which tracks fires across the world, showed six blazes just outside Dzhankoy overnight.

Several Telegram channels reported a series of explosions beginning shortly before 4 a.m. local time and said nearby roads had been closed.

Dzhankoy, south of the crossing from Crimea into Ukraine’s annexed Kherson region, is a major military hub. Home to one of Russia’s largest airfields in Crimea, it is key for keeping Russian forces on the mainland stocked up. Moscow annexed Crimea from Kyiv back in 2014.

Satellite imagery previously taken over Dzhankoy suggested Russia had a number of helicopters and advanced air defenses at the site. Earlier this month, pro-Ukrainian partisans operating in Crimea said they had detected a “build-up” of air defense systems on the peninsula, including at Dzhankoy. The Atesh group said additional anti-aircraft missile systems around the Dzhankoy airfield were “not camouflaged in any way.”

“It is clear that this is a military airfield, that is, a legitimate target,” Ukraine’s Humeniuk said on Wednesday. Russia frequently moves assets to protect them from damage, she said in remarks reported by Ukrainian media, adding: “But not all maneuvers were successful.”

Ukraine has previously launched strikes on Russian air bases in Crimea.

Earlier this year, Ukraine’s air force said it had launched missile strikes on the Belbek airfield close to the port city of Sevastopol on Crimea’s western edge.

In August 2022, a string of explosions at the Saky air base in western Crimea damaged numerous Russian warplanes at the site.

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