If Ukraine is behind the group of explosions in your community of a Russian airbase in Crimea, it might bring about an increase in the war, which includes been ongoing since Russia’s invasion in late February, in accordance with experts.
Videos showed the blasts close to the Saki airfield on Tuesday, and Russia’s Defense Ministry said these were due to detonated aviation ammunition, killing one and injuring several others, the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reported.
But while Russia points from an attack because the reason behind the explosions, THE BRAND NEW York Times reported a senior Ukrainian military official with knowledge on the problem said that Ukraine was behind it.
Newsweek had not been in a position to independently verify the report that Ukraine was behind the blasts.
Michael C. Kimmage, a professor and chair of the annals department at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., told Newsweek that the war could “definitely” escalate if Ukraine was mixed up in explosions.
Kimmage said that we now have two reasons that Russia “would really value this.”
The foremost is that there’s been a string of attacks on Russian ammunition depots in recent weeks, “a genuine military issue” that’s setting Russia back and is costly aswell, he said. The second reason is there are indications of a “pr issue” for Russia with regards to addressing the explosions.
Kimmage said that there appears to have been two simultaneous explanations appearing out of Russia for the blasts: Russia saying that it had been an ammunition detonation instead of an attack, and the “Russia propaganda machine blaming Ukrainians.”
Russian state television host Olga Skabeeva, for instance, wrote in a Telegram post on Tuesday that the “Ukrainian MILITARY completed strikes on the airfield in the Crimea.”
The mixed messaging “just shows that they don’t learn how to handle it,” Kimmage said.
“I believe that that is clearly a big issue for them, especially with the Russian population if it appears like things aren’t going well,” he added.
Russian state media reported last month that Dmitry Medvedev, a former Russian president serving because the deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia, said a Ukrainian attack on Crimea would warrant a “doomsday” response.
If the war were to escalate due to the explosions, Kimmage said he doesn’t think it could happen on leading lines because of Russia’s reported manpower shortage plus some recent setbacks within their offensive.
Instead, he thinks an escalation could manifest in carpet bombing the major cities of Lviv and Kyiv, attacks on Ukraine’s electrical grid and major cyber attacks.
Several others have suggested a Ukrainian attack on Crimea could mark a shift or send a solid message in the months-long conflict.
Yair Navot, a journalist and Russia analyst, said during an interview with I24NEWS on Tuesday that when Ukraine was behind the blasts, it could be a “significant development in the war.”
“I’ll even say that it may be an opening for a fresh stage [in the war],” he added.
Referencing a social media marketing video of the explosions, Alexander Vindman, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former director for European Affairs for U.S. National Security Council, tweeted they “ought to be taken as an obvious warning” that attempts to organize referendums and annex territory in eastern and southern Ukraine “could have severe consequences.”
Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and contains pushed for international recognition that it’s section of Russia since. However the peninsula near the top of the Black Sea has remained the main topic of dispute.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during an interview with CBS‘ 60 Minutes in April he wouldn’t normally let Russia officially recognize Crimea as its territory. The U.S. has said that it views Crimea within Ukraine and urged Russia to come back full control of the peninsula to Ukraine.
“In Ukrainian eyes and U.S. eyes, [Crimea is] occupied territory so it is fair game for a war,” Kimmage said. “But if Russia really perceives this being an attack on Russia proper, on Russian territory, then maybe it’s really sort of no-holds barred. So, maybe that’s a thing that they would like to retain ambiguity on simply for their very own purposes.”
He added that Russian President Vladimir Putin is facing “political pressure” from “individuals who feel he’s not doing enough on the war.” Kimmage believes that Putin “must manage that crowd” and there could be “a little bit of information manipulation compared to that end.”
Newsweek reached out to the defense ministries of Russia and Ukraine for comment.