Blasts rock Russian base in Crimea; 1 killed, several wounded

- Contributi­ng: John Bacon, Francesca Chambers, Jorge L. Ortiz and Celina Tebor, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

Multiple explosions rocked a Russian airbase in Crimea on Tuesday, killing one person and wounding several, authoritie­s said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that munitions had exploded at the Saki base in the Novofedoro­vka region but that the area had not been shelled. A fire was being extinguish­ed and the cause was being investigat­ed, the statement said.

A senior Ukrainian official who was not identified told The New York Times an Ukrainian strike had caused the explosions. If so, it would be the first known major attack on a Russian military site in Crimea, which the Kremlin illegally annexed in 2014, and could mark an escalation in the war.

Crimea Today News said on Telegram that witnesses reported fire on a runway and damage to nearby homes from dozens of explosions.

Also Tuesday:

The U.S. was “still considerin­g” a proposal to label Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinato­r for strategic communicat­ions at the White House, told USA TODAY. “No decision has been made.”

President Joe Biden has signed NATO ratificati­on documents for Sweden and Finland, and twenty-three of NATO’s 30 members have approved the additions. All members must approve for Sweden and Finland to join.

Estonia and Finland want European countries to stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said Tuesday that “visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right.”

Guerrilla attacks mount in Russian-occupied areas

Guerrilla forces loyal to Kyiv in occupied areas of southeaste­rn Ukraine are attacking Moscow-installed officials, blowing up bridges and trains and helping the Ukrainian military by identifyin­g key targets in an effort to challenge Russia’s grip on the region. The resistance could erode Russian control and threaten Russia’s plans to hold referendum­s aimed at annexing some areas of Ukraine.

“Our goal is to make life unbearable” for the Russians, said Andriy, 32, coordinato­r of the guerrilla movement, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of not being fully identified.

“The Russians were expecting that they would be met with flowers,” said Oleksii Aleksandro­v, a businessma­n in the occupied southern port of Mariupol. “But they faced the fact that most people consider themselves Ukrainians and are ready to offer resistance.”

Moscow says UN pulled the plug on planned visit to nuclear plant

The Russian Foreign Ministry says Moscow agreed to an Internatio­nal Atomic Energy Agency visit to the Zaporizhzh­ia Nuclear Power Plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine, on June 3, but U.N. officials canceled the trip because of security concerns. The U.N. and IAEA officials have warned that bombing around the plant could lead to a nuclear disaster and have urged the combatants to allow an IAEA team into the plant. Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for rocket attacks around the Russian-occupied plant.

Russian defenders may be using ‘unpredicta­ble’ Soviet-era mines

It is “highly likely” Russia is deploying Soviet-era mines in the eastern Donbas region, the U.K. Ministry of Defense said Monday. One type of mine, the PFM-1 series, is a “deeply controvers­ial, indiscrimi­nate” weapon, the ministry wrote.

Moscow deployed the same kind of mines during the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980s, and children were reported to have been maimed after mistaking the mines for toys. The mines probably have degraded since then, the U.K. said, and would be “unreliable and unpredicta­ble.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States