Aug 17, 2022
Explosions hit Russian-annexed Crimea as Ukraine vows to retake territory Transcript
For the second time in a week there were mysterious explosions in Russian-occupied Crimea. Read the transcript here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Judy Woodruff: (00:00)
For the second time in a week, there were mysterious explosions today in Russian-occupied Crimea. A Russian ammunition depot blew up this morning in the peninsula’s northeast. Last Wednesday, half-a-dozen explosions destroyed multiple Russian jets at the Saki Airbase. Ukraine has not officially taken responsibility. And violence continues near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia. Russian and Ukrainian officials continue to trade accusations over who is to blame. Nick Schifrin reports.
Speaker 2: (00:35)
[Foreign language 00:00:35].
Nick Schifrin: (00:37)
The Ukrainian soldier filming called it beautiful fireworks, a Russian ammunition depot destroyed in multiple explosions. Another explosion hit an electricity substation. Thick, dark plumes of smoke billowed for hours. It disrupted power and rail traffic and a part of Crimea that Russia has used to attack the rest of Southern Ukraine. At least 3,000 people had to evacuate. Russia’s appointed Crimea governor admitted it was sabotage.
Sergei Aksyonov: (01:05)
The detonation is quite strong. There are scattered shells in the field, unfortunately. Therefore, there will be work for the bomb squad. Now we are waiting for the detonation of ammunition to stop. You can hear again another explosion now.
Nick Schifrin: (01:19)
Ukraine didn’t claim official responsibility, but on Twitter, minutes after the explosion, Presidential Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak quipped: “The Ukrainian Armed Forces continue the demilitarization operation to fully rid our land of Russian invaders. Our soldiers are the best sponsors of a good mood. Crimea is Ukraine.” Just last week, a massive cloud filled the sky after multiple explosions at a Russian air base. Russia claimed it was an accident, but satellite images from the Saki Airbase before and after the attack show burned earth and multiple fighter jets destroyed. Crimea and its beaches have long been summer tourist destinations. Last week, beach goers had to flee the explosions. And Ukrainians posted this parody video, telling Russian tourists and troops on Crimea it would be a cruel summer, after all. In 2014, Russia occupied and annexed Crimea after a sham referendum. Russia used it on the day of invasion to capture a huge swathe of Ukrainian territory. But President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vows to take it back.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy: (02:29)
Crimea is Ukrainian, and we will never repudiate it. We will not forget that the Russian war against Ukraine started with the occupation of Crimea, and the Black Sea region cannot be a safe place while Crimea is occupied.
Nick Schifrin: (02:43)
Last week’s attack on Saki Airbase was in Crimea’s West. Today’s was up north, just 30 miles from Russian-occupied Kherson. Ukraine vows to retake that district and the neighboring district Zaporizhzhia. That’s where Russia seized Europe’s largest nuclear plant in early March. In the last week, Russian TV has shown rockets that fell inside the complex. Russia blames Ukraine, but Ukraine says Russia has targeted the parts of the plant that send electricity to Ukraine and is now diverting the power to the Russian grid. Petro Kotin, President of the State Nuclear Authority, recently warned on Ukrainian TV that any accident could be larger than Chernobyl.
Petro Kotin: (03:24)
The situation is very dangerous. We encountered such a situation at Chernobyl nuclear power plant, if you remember. But there is a very big difference here. There are six power units. All of them are filled with nuclear materials.
Nick Schifrin: (03:37)
There has never been a nuclear power plant on the front lines of a war.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy: (03:42)
Everything depends only on the direction and strength of the wind. If Russia’s actions lead to a catastrophe, the consequences may hit those who have yet remained silent.