Russia has lost yet another command post to a Ukrainian rocket strike after a headquarters in Donbas was blown up Thursday, officials have claimed.
Video from the occupied city of Lysychansk uploaded to Telegram and taken by Chechen special forces appeared to capture the moment the rockets struck on Wednesday afternoon, sending plumes of smoke into the air.
More footage then documented the aftermath, with a Russian flag shown fluttering limply over a courtyard strewn with rubble as men in military fatigues milled about.
Serhiy Haidai, the regional governor, said Ukraine had struck the base – which had been set up inside the old headquarters of Kyiv’s security services – and killed around 100 Russians, including commanders of the 2nd Army and 20 FSB officers.
It comes just two days after the Ukrainian headquarters of the notorious Wagner mercenary group was blown up after a Russian propagandist accidentally gave away its location in a photograph.
This is the moment a Ukrainian strike blew up a Russian headquarters in the occupied city of Lysychansk, killing a reported 100 soldiers
Ukraine says 20 FSB officers died in the base explosion, along with commanders from the 2nd Army while also hinting that other senior officers were also inside
Haidai said that attack had also killed a similar number of Russian troops, though Wagner’s owner – oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin – had survived.
Speaking about the latest blast in Lysychansk, Haidai added: ‘ Not only the leadership of the 2nd Army Corps, but also FSB officers were blown into the air.
‘According to preliminary information, as a result of an explosion yesterday in Lysychansk, the SBU building, which housed the headquarters of the occupiers, was completely destroyed. About a hundred Russians died.
‘The majority [were] the leadership of the 2nd Army Corps and approximately 20 representatives of the Russian FSB.’
Haidai also joked about the ‘dangers of smoking indoors’ – a reference to recent explosions at military bases in Crimea which Russia tried to claim was due to a fire caused by a cigarette.
In fact it was Ukraine that was behind three blasts on the occupied peninsula, according to an anonymous official who spoke to CNN – damaging two airfields and destroying an ammunition dump.
It comes just days after Wagner headquarters, in the city of Popasna, was destroyed when propagandist Sergei Sreda gave away its location by photographing a street sign (top left)
Ukraine said it used the information in that photo to launch a HIMARS attack on the base, with confirmation coming from Wagner-linked Telegram channels on Sunday that it had been hit (pictured, the aftermath of the strike)
It marks the first acknowledgement from Kyiv that it orchestrated the attacks, though it is still not clear exactly how they were carried out.
A different official, also speaking anonymously, claimed the attack on Saki airbase last week was carried out by special forces – while Russia has blamed ‘sabotage’ for the ammo dump blast, also suggesting a ground operation.
That tallies with what is known about Ukraine’s military capabilities, as Kyiv has not yet been handed rockets capable of striking Crimea – at least not publicly.
Calls have been growing for Ukraine to be given a system known as ATACMS which can be fired by HIMARS and would be capable of hitting Crimea, but the US has so-far refused – fearing it could be used for attacks against mainland Russia.
The attacks on Crimea – the most-significant since Putin’s troops first occupied it in 2014 – have spooked the Russian military, with Ukrainian intelligence claiming he has withdrawn planes and helicopters to avoid them being blown up.
Some 24 fighters and bombers plus 14 helicopters have been moved deeper into the Black Sea peninsula or to mainland Russia, it is claimed.
At least seven Russian fighter jets were destroyed and ammunition storage facilities were destroyed in the explosions on August 9. Pictured: Satellite images show the destroyed Russian aircraft at the Saki Air base
The explosions on August 9, which killed one person and wounded 14, sent tourists fleeing in panic from a nearby beach as plumes of smoke snaked along the coastline
‘Measures to partially transfer aviation equipment from forward-based airfields in Crimea to reserve airfields and airfields permanently based on the territory of the Russian Federation,’ said Ukrainian military intelligence.
‘Such activity was noted after a series of explosions at the military infrastructure facilities of the temporarily occupied Crimea peninsula, including at the airfields Saki (August 9) and Gvardiyske (August 16).’
The Ukrainians claimed three Su-35S, three Su-34, five Su-27/30SM, and three more, probably MiG-31, flew to Russia from Belbek airfield in Crimea.
Six Ka-27 helicopters and eight other helicopters also left the airfields, it was claimed.
Russia is believed to have lost at least ten warplanes in the attack on Saki – or Novofedorivka – airfield.
The retreat is aimed at putting his aerial firepower out of reach of Ukrainian missile or drone attacks, or special services sabotage squads.
It is an indication Putin fears new losses.
Until this month, Crimea – annexed by Putin from Ukraine in 2014 – had been fairly unscathed from the war.
Earlier on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported a fire on a transformer substation near the town of Dzhankoi in Crimea
An ammunition depot has exploded in Crimea just days after a series of explosions destroyed at least seven Russian warplanes at a nearby air force base. Earlier on Tuesday morning, a transformer substation near the town of Dzhankoi, 14 miles away from the ammunition depot, caught fire according to Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency