Explosions at Saki Airbase in Crimea: Did RuMoD lied and what happened?

A lie or not a lie?

After some time passed, the picture of what have occurred at the RuAF (Russian Air Force) operated Saki Airbase at Crimea started to clear out, and I believe we now know enough to talk about it.

First of all, the most important question here is did the RuMoD (Russian Ministry of Defence) lied then it published the following communication:

“9 августа около 15.20 на территории аэродрома «Саки» в районе населённого пункта Новофёдоровка на обвалованной площадке хранения произошла детонация нескольких авиационных боеприпасов.
В результате взрыва никто не пострадал. Авиационная техника на аэродроме не повреждена.
Принимаются меры по тушению возникшего пожара и выяснению причин взрыва.
По докладу с места никакого огневого воздействия по обвалованной площадке хранения боеприпасов на аэродроме не было”


I translate:

On August 9th around 19:20 on the territory of the “Saki” airbase in the vicinity of the Novofederovka settlment, a detonation of a few aviation ammunitions has occurred at the embanked storage area.

Following the resulted explosion no one was hurt. No aircraft was damaged.

Measures are being taken to extinguish the fire and to determine the reasons for explosion.

According to the report from the airbase, there was no enemy fire towards the embanked aviation ammunition storage area.

So here we are being reported that some ammo at some storage area has detonated for some unknown reason, and it resulted in fire. At this point in time, only one storage area was burning, without any human casualties or material damage to aircraft at the base.

Later we received satellite images, suggesting at least thee storage areas had exploded and burned out, as well as some aircraft which were stationed in the vicinity.

Based on these images, many, including the famous Strelkov, have concluded they are being lied in the most arrogant way. That was my first impression also. But after reading the RuMoD statement, another option made itself obvious:

Indeed, at the time of the initial report there was only one storage burning. But at some point later, the fire has got to the other storage areas. At this point it got much bigger, and the nearby aircraft were burned.

Naturally, burning ammo storage isn’t something that can be extinguished with regular firefighting equipment. Wat is needed is some kind of a remote controlled armored (tank based) firefighting machinery. I assume this kind of equipment wasn’t readily available at this base, and the fire and the exploding ammunition kept burning and igniting everything flammable in the area.

If so, it is very possible the initial report was true, but premature. It was probably released to ease the fears of Crimean residents about the possibility of Ukrainian shelling or similar. But, in the hind sight, it was premature to report no casualties and no damage before the fire was extinguished (or died out by itself). At least the MoD had to update its report. But since they aren’t reporting on combat losses, this was against the current procedure.

As a result, there is an initial report about no damage and no casualties, and there are latter satellite photos clearly showing the damaged aircraft (Su-24 and Su-34, it seems) at the place. Thus MoD has cornered itself and made itself to look like a lair.

What happened?

I see two options. First is the Ukrainian drone operated by some insurgents from the Crimea has dropped some kind of an explosive device onto the ammunition storage area, which resulted in explosion and fire, which spread to other storage areas. But this would require some good skills and a lot of good luck from the drone operator, and some significant failure on the part of the airbase command in securing it.

The second option is some kind of an accident. But the problem is that aviation ammunition doesn’t explode by itself. Actually, it is made so it won’t explode even if dropped or accidentally launched. It hade at least one, probably more, layers of prevention of accidental explosions. It is needed to remove one or more safeguards before and during the flight to arm it. And since no one was injured or died, according to the initial report, it would mean it happened when no one was around. So it seems highly unlikely.

What are the implications?

I would expect the airbase commander to be discharged at some point after the investigation into this incident would conclude.


There is a rumor that the commander of the Black See Fleet has lost his position, and was replaced by some one else. I was waiting for this since the Moskva debacle. Of course, there may be other reasons for this, or maybe the rumor is false. But it does seem to be in line of my expectations, and that is why I am reporting this. This SMO (Special military operation) has brought to the surface a lot of incompetence of a corrupt peace-time army. As a result I expect the Russian Armed Forces to cleanse themselves of the most obviously incompetent commanders, and to become healthier and stronger in the near and mid-term future.


Regardless of the reason for the initial explosion and fire, the storage of ammunition in close proximity to the aircraft and other ammo storage areas was a reckless thing to do. Sure, it is more convenient, but as usual RuAF is one of the worst in the world regarding the protection of its aircraft at the airbases against the elements, accidents or enemy fire. They buy jets for tens of millions of US dollars, but cannot built some hardened hangars for them, and instead let them stand under the snow and the sun side by side all year long. At best they put a few concrete panels between the jets, as if it would protect them in any sufficient way against accidents or enemy attacks. This is a long standing failure which has rooted itself so very deep into the Russian commander’s soul. Public money has no value in the eyes of Russian officials. It is a global phenomenon, but in the case of the Russian AF it is made so obvious to anyone who spent some time looking at Russian operational (and God forbid, storage/reserve) airbases.

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