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Sabotage Suspected in Huge Ukraine Arms Blast

No injuries reported as explosions, fire rock ammo depot in north of country.

9 October 2018

About 12,000 people have been evacuated from the area around a burning ammunition depot in Ukraine’s Chernihiv region.

 

No injuries or deaths were reported as of this morning, the State Emergency Situations Service said, Interfax-Ukraine reports. Earlier, a Defense Ministry statement said there were two or three explosions a second at the depot, located in the Ichnia district, about 100 miles east of Kyiv, according to Reuters.

 

 

The first explosions reportedly began about 3:30 this morning, Unian reports. Airspace around the site has been closed, and road and rail transport is also disrupted.

 

This is the sixth major fire in three years at Ukrainian arms depots, The Times reports, and as with some of the earlier incidents, officials suspect the fire was not accidental. According to Reuters, the state security service said sabotage might have been responsible, and a Defense Ministry spokesman said explosions occurred in different parts of the depot, also pointing to sabotage.

 

A parliamentary defense committee inspected some depots after a huge fire at one of them in Vinnytsia region in September 2017 and warned of significant shortcomings at the Chernihiv region depot, according to lawmaker Dmitry Tymchuk.

 

 

  • The Vinnytsia region blast and another major fire last year at a depot in Balaklia, eastern Ukraine represented the worst blow to Ukraine’s combat capability in the conflict with separatists in the east that has been going on since 2014, Security and Defense Council secretary Oleksandr Turchynov said last September, RFE/RL reported.

 

  • Officials blamed both blasts on sabotage and suggested the involvement of Russia. The SBU security service said a Russian hand grenade dropped from a drone may have set off the Balaklia explosion.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

 

Homepage image via AFP news agency/Youtube. 

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