Satellite images reveal damage to Russian air base in Crimea

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Satellite images reveal damage to Russian air base in Crimea

New satellite images have revealed the heavy damage to a Russian air base in Crimea that was rocked by explosions earlier this week, calling into question Russia's ability to protect the territory it controls in Ukraine s south.

The pictures released Thursday added to a growing belief that the blasts may be the result of Ukrainian attacks, suggesting Kyiv's ability to strike at a longer range that could change the course of the war.

It came as Ukraine and Russia traded accusations of new strikes on Europe's largest nuclear plant, in a crisis that has sparked fears of a catastrophe. The United Nations is going to talk about the situation on Thursday.

Experts and analysts were assessing another as international leaders raised the alarm about what would be a dramatic development in the conflict.

Kyiv said nine Russian warplanes were destroyed in a series of blasts at the Saki air base in annexed Crimea on Tuesday, while Russia denied any damage and said the incident stemmed from ammunition detonating.

Ukraine hasn't publicly claimed responsibility for the blasts.

The satellite images released by Planet Labs, an American public earth imaging company, seem to contradict Russian assertions.

Two buildings in northeastern corner of the base were burned to the ground, with what appears to be the burned-out wreckage of at least six planes visible, and several other planes damaged, according to NBC News analysis. NBC News could not independently verify if all of the aircraft were airworthy.