Explosions were reported at Zyabrovka air base in Belarus. The facility, located 30 kilometers (15 miles) from the border with Ukraine, is said to house a contingent of Russian forces.

The Belarusian Ministry of Defense said the fire was caused by the testing of a new engine on a vehicle under maintenance. 

However, the Belarusian Hajun Project, usually monitoring the movements of Russian troops in Belarus, shared a video allegedly showing a flash in the night, consistent with an explosion. It also said that 8 flashes in total were seen by witnesses, contradicting the explanation of the Belarusian authorities. 

A Russian 92N6E air defense radar, which detects and tracks targets for an S-400 anti-air defense system, was destroyed in the explosion, according to a source quoted by Defence Blog.

The spokesman for the command of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Yury Ignat, told Belsat Studio that the explosions may have been the result of sabotage by "Belarusian partisans."

Since late 2021, Zyabrauka airfield has been hosting Russian land and air assets which are involved in the invasion of Ukraine. In February 2022, the satellite observation provider Maxar Technologies reported that 20 attack helicopters were deployed to the base, most likely Ka-52 designed to destroy enemy tanks.

The Ukrainian military also said that the facility is used as a staging ground to launch Iskander-M ballistic missiles onto Ukrainian territory.

The Zyabrovka incident is the second damage reported in recent times at a Russian airbase. On August 9, 2022, a series of large explosions destroyed several fighter jets and attack aircraft at the Saky Airbase in Russian-occupied Crimea.

 

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