Blasts at a Russian-operated airfield in Crimea this week have “significantly degraded” its navy’s Black Sea Fleet, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) says.
The Saky base in the west of Russian-ruled Crimea was rocked by a string of blasts on Tuesday, killing one person.
The blasts led to the loss of eight Russian combat jets, the MoD said in its daily intelligence update.
Ukraine has not claimed responsibility, but satellite images suggest the possibility of a targeted attack.
The cause of the blasts is unclear, but at least five fighter-bombers and three multi-role jets were “almost certainly destroyed or seriously damaged”, the statement says.
The loss of eight combat jets will make only a minor dent in Moscow’s overall fleet of aircraft, but will be a significant setback to the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet, it says.
“The fleet’s naval aviation capability is now significantly degraded,” the ministry adds.
The Saky fleet is used to engage Ukrainian fighters in southern…