The overall photograph of Saki airport in the morning of August 8 before the attack

taken by Planet Labs PBC company.

The detailed picture of Saki airport before the August 9 attack.

The overall view of Saki airport on August 10 taken by Planet Labs PBC. The dark

areas represent areas hit by fires.

The detailed photograph of the apron on Saki airport with destroyed aircraft.

executed by the Ukrainian Special Forces.

This could be a smoke screen as well. The

Russians are moving the reinforcements

to Kherson area via Crimea and the information about the Ukrainian Special Forces active there will force them to leave

some military contingent on the peninsula to protect several important locations.

Exactly one week passed and Crimea

was shaken by more explosions even of

the larger intensity. On Tuesday August 16

three locations were hit. First in the early

morning the ammunition dump was destroyed in the village of Majske in Djankoy

region. It was followed by the explosion

of the transformer station supplying the

railroads with electricity. As a result, the

train service between Crimea and Ukrainian South was interrupted. And thirdly

the Gvardeiskoye airbase near Simferopol

was hit. It is a home to the combined air

unit with 12 Su-24 bombers and 12 Su-25

fighter bombers.

Again, the reasons were debated. The

Ukrainians still did not claim responsibility.

The Russians however changed their rhetoric. In the case of Saki explosions, they

claimed it was “an accident caused by negligence.” That reckless soldier supposedly

threw cigarette butts precisely among the

aircraft in at least three different locations.

In the second case though the FSB secret

October 2022

service immediately blamed the “Ukrainian

saboteurs” for the explosions. How exactly these sabotages were supposed to be

executed was not published. Only once the

information popped up in the Russian media that the drone loaded with explosives

was used for the attack.

The Russian leadership supposedly gave

up pretending the illusion that Crimea is

safe. The mass exodus of the Russian civilians proved that denial makes no sense.

Instead, the Russians started to boost the

defense of the Kerch bridge connection

Crimea with Russia. After the attacks on

August 16, they also withdrew their airplanes and helicopters from the airports

in the occupied Crimea to safer locations.

In the beginning of September Ukraine finally revealed the truth. Valery Zaluzhny,

the supreme commander of the Ukrainian

armed forces admitted that the Ukrainian

rockets are responsible for the attack on

the Russian bases. According to his statement ten Russian aircraft were destroyed

by them at Saki airbase. Zaluzhny said that

by attacking Crimea the Ukrainians not

only intended to cause the damage to the

military infrastructure but also shake the

Russian military confidence and sense of

being bulletproof. Saki had been chosen as

the first target in Crimea on purpose, due

to the nearby summer resorts. Kremlin

has tried to convince the civilian population that the war does not affect them at all.

People however saw it by their own eyes

on the beaches near Saki. The only thing

Zaluzhny did not disclose was the type of

the rockets used. Owing to the distance

from the frontline only the aforementioned

ATACMS or Hrim-2 can be considered.

Air combat

In addition to these three decisive events

the “regular” air activities continued. Even

though the front lines have not changed

for the most part the activity in the air

has intensified significantly, especially on

the Ukrainian side. Between July 16 and

August 16 loss of three Bayraktar TB2

drones was confirmed. It is the proof that

the Ukrainians still use them despite the

Russian claims that all of them had been

destroyed, several times! On August 15 two

Ukrainian Mig-29 pilots were buried, Col.

Juryi Pohorilyi from 114th brigade of the

Tactical AF and Maj. Anton Listopad from

204th brigade. Hundreds of people showed

up to pay respects. It was not announced

though when exactly they perished.

On August 7 president Volodymyr Zelenskyi posthumously decorated another

Mig-29 pilot, Lt.Col. Eduard Vahorovskyi.

Maj.Dmytro Kolomiyets, who perished

in the cockpit of L-39 Albatross, was

INFO Eduard