Russians flee Crimea after explosions rocked the region
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The Grey Zone, a Telegram channel which posted updates about Russia’s war in Ukraine, was believed to be run by Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group.
However, since August 13, the Telegram account has posted no updates for its 268,000 followers.
Jason Jay Smart, special correspondent for the Kyiv Post, cited reports from Ukrainian journalist Denis Kazansky who said “it’s probable that it’s editors were wiped out during the HIMARS strike on Popasna”.
On August 15, Ukraine claimed to have struck a based being used as HQ for Wager Group with a HIMARS rocket.
Serhiy Hayday, the Ukrainian governor of Luhansk, said that the location was revealed by Russian journalist Sergei Sreda.
The image posted online showed a sign giving a street in Popasna, Luhansk.
A pro-Moscow blogger, called Kotenok, wrote on Telegram: “A strike was carried out on one of the Wagner PMC locations in Popasna.
“Sources in Donbas confirm that. Probably ‘Himars’. Ukrainian sources report the death of Prigozhin – we don’t confirm that.”
It is currently unclear how many fighters were killed or injured during the attack.
The Metro also reported the building used by Wagner paramilitary forces in Popasna was destroyed.
They reported Mr Srada visited the site and posted the pictures on Telegram, which showed an address of a nearest bomb shelter, Myronivska Street, 12.
While the photos were quickly deleted from Telegram, it was reported Ukrainian intelligence was able to triangulate the group’s location with enough precision to launch a HIMARS strike, obliterating the base with the high-tech missile system donated by the US.
Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Honcharenko wrote on Facebook after the strike: “There is no more Wagner HQ in Popasna. Thank you, HIMARS and the Armed Forces of Ukraine!”
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It comes as the UK’s Ministry of Defence said Russian commanders are likely increasingly concerned with the “deterioration in security across Crimea”.
They said: “On 16 August 2022, both Russian and Ukrainian officials acknowledged that an ammunition dump had exploded near Dzhankoi in northern Crimea, where a nearby railway and electricity sub-station were also likely damaged.
“Russian media also reported that smoke was rising from near Gvardeyskoye Airbase in the centre of the Crimea.
“Dzhankoi and Gvardeyskoye are home to two of the most important Russian military airfields in Crimea. Dzhankoi is also a key road and rail junction that plays an important role in supplying Russia’s operations in southern Ukraine.
“The cause of these incidents and the extent of the damage is not yet clear but Russian commanders will highly likely be increasingly concerned with the apparent deterioration in security across Crimea, which functions as rear base area for the occupation.”
Following the Crimea explosion, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Air Force Command has said the country is “satisfied” by today’s explosions in occupied Crimea, but that Russia was responsible.
Yuriy Ignat said Russia’s failure to “observe fire precautions” was to blame.
Russia’s defence ministry earlier said a fire had triggered the blasts at a military base, before later blaming “sabotage”.
Mr Ignat added: “The enemy’s not observing fire precautions, hence the problems, but we are of course satisfied by the fact because Dzhankoi [where the explosions took place] was one of the locations where the enemy kept their helicopters and other equipment.”
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