Fire at Military Warehouse Triggers Massive Explosion


An ammunition depot in Ukraine's Vinnytsia region detonated late Tuesday causing huge explosions as Uragan, Smerch and Grad multiple rocket launchers were stockpiled there among other munitions.

Military general staff spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov told AFP that the arms depot was "one of the country's largest".

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who arrived in Vinnytsya city following the blast, said the government has allocated 3.8 million USA dollars for the relief efforts of the disaster.

Zoryan Shkiryak, and adviser to the Ukraine's Interior Minister, commented that the incident was an example of "Russian sabotage", noting that it was the seventh fire at the arsenal.

By Wednesday evening the defence ministry said the various shells and missiles had stopped exploding and that the situation at the facility had been brought under control.

Prime Minsiter Volodymyr Groysman said the explosion was "no accident".

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Authorities bussed more than 30,000 people out of the area and turned off the electricity and gas supply.

"Many homes have been destroyed, and there are victims", a Kalinovka resident, whose house is located half a kilometer away from the depot, said on 112 Ukraine TV during a live broadcast.

Neighbouring villages and towns were evacuated over fears of bigger explosions.

Reports say Ukrainian authorities evacuated some 24,000 people and also closed an airspace above the region where the explosion occurred.

The Ukrainian military has been fighting Russian-backed separatists for the past three years in Ukraine's two eastern-most regions, Donetsk and Luhansk, which border Russia.