Ukraine is Russia's 'biggest loss since WW2' says Honcharenko
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Ukrainian forces appeared to carry out a devastating blow to Vladimir Putin’s forces in Crimea – a region annexed by Russia in 2014 – as they are making significant advances into the peninsula. A series of explosions and fires have turned the until now the relatively safe Crimean Peninsula into a new battleground. Nine Russian warplanes were reportedly obliterated at an air base and an ammunition depot blew up on Tuesday.
When asked if it was possible to establish the extent of the damage inflicted on Russian troops and aircraft, People’s Deputy of Ukraine Oleksiy Honcharenko said: “Not just several, just in one attack.
“If we’re speaking about several days ago, the attack on Novofedorivka airport, no less than nine Russian aircraft were destroyed, maybe up to 19.
“That is quite a difficult moment to assess in any way. This is the biggest and the hardest Russian loss of fighters, in military jets from the Second World War.
“So, that is definitely significant. And it definitely decreases Russian possibilities in the South and theatre of war in the Southern part of Ukraine.”
“So, that it is important. I can compare these attacks on Novofedorivka on its psychological and symbolic significance, with their destruction of Russian fragment ship missile cruiser Moskva in the Black Sea, which is now a submarine, after Ukrainian attack,” Mr Honcharenko said.
Ukrainian forces appear to have their eye set on Crimea – the uttermost southern region of Crimea – captured and annexed to Russia in 2014.
The attacks on several fronts in Crimea have led Russian troops to evacuate Russian civilians from the region.
Footage from within Crimea purports to show a long line of cars bearing Russian number plates on what seems to be a road leading to the Kerch Strait crossing.
In a potential sign of more attacks to come, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on Ukrainians living in Crimea to steer clear of Russian military bases after three strikes were carried out in the past week.
“Do not approach the military objects of the Russian army,” he said in his latest video address, adding that they might also explode because of “bungling”.
“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,” Britain’s Defence Ministry wrote on Twitter.
Mr Honcharenko said it was important to “show that Russia is not able to defend the territory of Ukraine” to gain the upper hand in the region.
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“They have failed again in this war,” he said, adding: “not for the first time certainly not for the last time.”
A key advisor to President Zelensky has repeated a call to destroy the Crimean Bridge, built after Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 and connecting the peninsula to mainland Russia.
“It’s an illegal construction and the main gateway to supply the Russian army in Crimea. Such objects should be destroyed,” Mykhailo Podolyak told The Guardian.
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