Ukraine munitions blasts prompt mass evacuations

Photo: DSNS


Some 20,000 people are being evacuated after a series of explosions at a massive arms depot in eastern Ukraine described by officials as sabotage, the BBC reports.

The base in Balakliya, near Kharkiv, is used to store thousands of tonnes of ammunition including missiles and artillery weapons.

Rescue teams are overseeing a huge evacuation effort for people living in the city and nearby villages.

The total area of the dump spans more than 350 hectares, the military says.

Sabotage was said to be the cause of explosions followed by fire at an ammunition depot in the city of Balakliia in Ukraine’s Kharkiv Region, causing their detonation, the country’s military prosecutor said Thursday, according to Sputnik.

“As a result of sabotage, an explosion occurred (fire broke out) at 03:02 a.m. [01:02 GMT] at several rocket and artillery weapons storage sites (125 and 152 mm tank and artillery shells), which caused the detonation of ammunition,” Anatolii Matios wrote on his Facebook page.

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