‘Ukraine war must end with…,’ Is Zelensky now going on the offensive?

As the fight against arch-rival Russia enters its sixth month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has offered a hint as to when and how he wants it to end. Speaking after a series of explosions hit a Russian airbase in Crimea, Zelensky said the war began with Crimea and must end with Crimea.

He pledged to “liberate” Crimea when speculation erupted about the cause of a massive fire at an air base on the Russian-occupied peninsula, which resulted in one casualty.

“This war against Ukraine and all of free Europe begins with Crimea and must end with Crimea – its liberation,” Zelenskiy said late Tuesday, Zelenskiy said.

After defending its land from Russian occupation, Ukraine is now launching an offensive to recapture the lost territory of Crimea?

Amid what was seen as an escalation of the ongoing war in Ukraine, powerful explosions rocked a Russian air base in Crimea and created towering plumes of smoke that surrounded the landscape. Authorities said at least one person was killed and several others were injured.

The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that the shells exploded at the base without the fire being caused by an impending attack. Meanwhile, some defense analysts see this as a sign of a Ukrainian attack. Ukrainian social media was abuzz with speculation that it had been hit by a long-range missile fired by Ukraine.

Videos posted on social media showed sunbathers on nearby beaches fleeing as huge flames and plumes of smoke rose from multiple points on the horizon, accompanied by loud explosions.

Russia’s state news agency Tass quoted an unnamed source as saying the main cause of the explosions appeared to be “violation of fire safety requirements”.

The ministry said no fighter jets were damaged.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine said on Facebook sarcastically: “The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine could not determine the cause of the fire, but once again reiterates the regulations on fire safety and the prohibition of smoking in the unspecified place”.

In a separate development, Ukrainian officials said 13 people were killed in overnight Russian airstrikes in the central Dnipropetrovsk region and another in the southern Zaporizhzhia region. The new Russian force, known as the 3rd Army Corps, is based in the city of Mulino, east of Moscow, the British Ministry of Defense said in a daily intelligence report.

Crimea is internationally recognized as part of Ukraine – but the Black Sea peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014 after a referendum that the global community deemed illegal. Many Ukrainians see this as the beginning of their war with Russia.

(With agent input)

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