Putin reeling after military barracks engulfed by blaze
Crimea: Russian barracks on fire
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A Russian army barracks housing mobilised troops in Crimea has burnt down, after it was engulfed in flames. The incident represents the latest setback for Vladimir Putin and his commanders on the peninsula. The barracks were located on a military base in Sovetskoye and were said to be home to several hundred conscripts.
Local reports say the fire started early on Saturday morning at around 6am.
Video images of the blaze showed the barracks engulfed in flames, with some reaching several metres high.
An eyewitness said: “Either something flew in, or the warriors got drunk, f***.”
Various social media channels have claimed there are dead and injured, although there has been no official confirmation of casualties by the Russian military.
Crimea was illegally annexed by Vladimir Putin in 2014, after being seized by Russian troops.
The peninsula has served as a staging post to ferry ammunition and troops to Southern Ukraine, where fierce battles continue to rage.
Ukraine’s army has launched a number of daring attacks on infrastructure and military bases in Crimea in recent months.
In August, Saky airbase came under attack, resulting in significant loses for Russia’s airforce.
Independent analysts at Oryx Research said at least 11 fighter jets – four Su-30SMs and seven Su-24s – were destroyed in the raid.
Then in October, a huge explosion destroyed part of the Kerch Bridge in a major blow for Russia’s army.
The bridge provides a direct connection between Russia and the peninsula and is as a vital logistical link for the Russian military.
It comes as Russian forces continued their assault on the eastern city of Bakhmut.
Russian sources reported that their military continued to conduct offensive operations to the north and south of Bakhmut.
They said the Ukrainians were suffering heavy losses in the ongoing fighting.
A Russian military blogger claimed that the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) 3rd Motorized Rifle Battalion had taken control of Mayorsk, located 20km south of the contested city.
For their part, Ukraine’s General Staff said their forces had repelled a Russian attack near Klishchiivka, about 7km southwest of Bakhmut.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Russians of “destroying” Bakhmut in his nightly address to the nation on Friday.
He said: “Bakhmut, Soledar, Maryinka, Kreminna.
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“For a long time, there is no living place left on the land of these areas that have not been damaged by shells and fire.
“The occupiers actually destroyed Bakhmut, another Donbas city that the Russian army turned into burned ruins.”
Meanwhile, the UK Ministry of Defence said Iran’s backing for the Russian military is likely to grow in coming months and Moscow will probably offer Tehran an “unprecedented” level of military support in return.
In their daily bulletin, they wrote on Saturday: “Iran has become one of Russia’s top military backers since Russia invaded Ukraine.
“Iran’s support to the Russian military is likely to grow in the coming months: Russia is attempting to obtain more weapons, including hundreds of ballistic missiles.
“In return Russia is highly likely offering Iran an unprecedented level of military and technical support that is transforming their defence relationship.”
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