Satellite images showing the devastating aftermath of an attack on a Russian air base in Crimea have challenged the Kremlin's version of events.

Pictures released by independent satellite firm Planet Labs reveal three near-identical craters at the Saki air base, on the peninsula's southwest coast.

The burnt-out husks of at least eight destroyed warplanes are clearly visible.

Russia has denied that any aircraft were damaged and claimed that the explosions seen at the base on Tuesday were accidental.

The near identical impact craters and simultaneous explosions suggest that it was hit by a volley of new long-range weapons, capable of evading Russian defences.

Western military experts said that this would have potentially important implications for a long-anticipated counter-attack by Kyiv.

While Ukraine has not publicly claimed responsibility for the attack, several international news outlets reported that senior Ukrainian sources had confirmed that its forces were behind the operation.

"Officially, we are not confirming or denying anything; there are numerous scenarios for what might have happened... bearing in mind that there were several epicentres of explosions at exactly the same time," Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said.

Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014, uses the peninsula as the base for its Black Sea fleet and as the main supply route for its invasion forces occupying southern Ukraine.


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