The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), António Guterres, called on Thursday (11) for an immediate end to military activities near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, the largest in Europe.
“I urge the military forces of the Russian Federation and Ukraine to immediately cease all military activities in the vicinity of the plant and not to target its facilities or surroundings,” he said in a statement.
Satellite images presented today show devastation at a Russian air base in Crimea, hit in an attack. The images indicate that Kiev may have gained new long-range strike capability, with the potential to change the course of the war.
Published by independent satellite company Planet Labs, the images reproduce three nearly identical craters where buildings at the Russian airbase in Saki were hit with apparent precision. The base, on Crimea’s southwest coast, suffered extensive fire damage, with the burnt-out carcasses of at least eight warplanes.
Russia denied that the aircraft were damaged and said the explosions seen at the base on Tuesday were accidental.
Ukraine did not claim responsibility for the attack, nor did it say exactly how it happened.
“Officially, we are not confirming or denying anything; there are multiple scenarios for what could have happened, considering multiple explosion epicenters at exactly the same time,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters in a message.
Western military experts said the scale of the damage and the apparent precision of the strike suggested a powerful new capability with potentially important implications.
Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014, uses the peninsula as a base for its Black Sea fleet and as a main supply route for invading forces occupying southern Ukraine, where Kiev plans a counteroffensive in the coming weeks.
“I’m not an intelligence analyst, but it doesn’t look good,” Mark Hertling, former commander of US ground forces in Europe, wrote on Twitter, along with an image of the devastation at the Russian base.
“I am. It’s very good,” replied retired US General Michael Hayden, former head of spy services for the CIA and the National Security Agency.
The Institute for the Study of War said Ukrainian authorities were framing the Crimea attack as “the beginning of Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the south, suggesting that the Ukrainian military expects intense fighting in August and September, which could decide the outcome of the next phase.” of war”.
Exactly how the attack was carried out remains a mystery. Some Ukrainian officials were cited, suggesting it may have been sabotage by infiltrators. But the nearly identical impact craters and simultaneous explosions seem to indicate that this was a volley of weapons capable of evading Russian defenses.
The base is far beyond the reach of advanced rockets that Western countries acknowledge having sent to Ukraine so far, but within the more powerful versions Kiev sought. Ukraine also has anti-ship missiles that could theoretically be used to hit land targets.
Ukraine drove Russian forces out of the capital Kiev in March and around the second-largest city, Kharkiv, in May. Russia then captured more territory in the east, in massive battles that killed thousands of soldiers on both sides in June.
Since then, the front lines have been largely static, but Kiev says it is scrambling to recapture the southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, the main sliver of territory occupied since the February 24 invasion.
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Translated to english by RJ983
From Brazil, by EBC News