Large explosions rock Russian military air base in Crimea

Loud blasts have been reported at a military base in Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula that Russia annexed in 2014.

The blasts were in the western village of Novofedorivka, said Oleg Kruchkov, an adviser to the Moscow-installed regional head.

Three local witnesses told Reuters they had seen black smoke rising from the direction of the airstrip.

Russia's defence ministry later said ammunition was detonated, but this has not been independently verified.

The ministry said there was no "fire impact" on the ammunition storage area, SIA cites Ria Novosti news agency.

Footage has emerged on social media purportedly showing people on a beach watching plumes of smoke rising from the direction of Novofedorivka.

After arriving in the area, Russia-appointed Crimea head Sergei Aksyonov said a 5km no-go zone around the blast site had been established.

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