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Ukraine war: Blasts rock Russian airbase

The head of the Russian-appointed regional administration, Sergei Aksyonov has said one person has been killed after blasts at a military base in Crimea.

Sergei Aksyonov wrote on social media that the blasts had taken place at the Saky military base near Novofedorivka on the peninsula’s western coast.

Footage circulating on social media appeared to show multiple explosions.

Russia’s defence ministry later said ammunition was detonated, but this has not been independently verified.

The ministry said there was no “fire impact” on the ammunition storage area, Russia’s state-run Ria news agency reports.

The Ukrainian peninsula that Moscow annexed in 2014 is a popular destination with Russian tourists, and one video appeared to show visitors fleeing from a beach as smoke rose in the background.

So far, the region has been spared the intense bombardment that other areas of Ukraine have suffered.

Local witnesses told the Reuters agency that they heard at least 12 blasts, beginning at about 15:20 local time (12:20 GMT).

After arriving in the area, Mr Aksyonov said a 5km (three-mile) no-go zone around the blast site had been established.

Moscow refused to speculate on the origin of the blast and Kyiv has not taken responsibility.

But Ukraine’s deputy Prime Minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, wrote on Telegram that “today’s explosions in Novofedorivka are another reminder of who Crimea belongs to. Because it is Ukraine”.

Editing by Omotola Oguneye