Huge explosion at Ukraine ammunition dump leads to evacuation of thousands of people

Hundreds of people deployed to site along with head of Ukraine's armed forces

Samuel Osborne
Tuesday 09 October 2018 09:26
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Huge explosion at Ukraine ammunition dump

A huge explosion and fires have hit an ammunition dump in Ukraine.

Around 12,000 people were evacuated after a defence ministry ammo depot near the town of Ichnya, in the Chernigov region, blew up.

There were two to three explosions a second, officials said.

No casualties were reported.

Ukraine's state security service said it was investigating possible sabotage, and the defence ministry's spokesman said the fact that explosions were set off in different parts of the depot pointed to sabotage.

"There are no victims, wounded, injured or killed among military personnel, personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the local population," a Defence Ministry statement said.

"As of 7am (0400 GMT), the intensity of explosions is two to three explosions per second."

Emergency workers evacuate residents in the settlement of Druzhba

Hundreds of people and equipment were deployed to the site, a statement by the emergency services said, joined by the country's prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, and the head of Ukraine's armed forces, Viktor Muzhenko.

The president has called for a report.

The airspace in a 12-mile radius has been closed and road and rail transport suspended.

There have been several large fires at ammunition and weapons depots in recent years, an additional drain on Ukraine’s military, which has been fighting Russian-backed separatists in eastern regions of the country since 2014.

“About 10,000 people were evacuated,” the statement by the emergency services said.

“From 04:22am (0122 GMT) the airspace within a radius of 20km has been closed. The movement of rail and road transport is suspended.”

Last year, massive explosions at a military depot in the Vynnytsya region, 168 miles west of Kiev, forced the authorities to evacuate 24,000 people.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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