Arms depot explodes in Ukraine, Kiev blames 'sabotage'

Ukraine's security services said they had opened an investigation into a suspected act of "diversion".

Arms depot explodes in Ukraine, Kiev blames 'sabotage'

World Bulletin / News Desk

A series of explosions hit a munitions depot in eastern Ukraine overnight, the military said Thursday, blaming the incident on an "act of sabotage".

"A fire broke out ... as a result of an act of sabotage at a depot in the town of Balakliya where missiles and munitions were kept," Ukraine's Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoliy Matios said in a statement. "The fire led to the detonation of munitions."

Authorities said Thursday morning that there appeared to be no casualties in the explosions and that some 20,000 people living in a five-kilometre radius were being evacuated from the area.

The Ukrainian military has been fighting pro-Russian separatists in the country's east since April 2014 in a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people. 

The depot in Balakliya, located some 150 kilometres from eastern Ukraine's rebel-held regions, housed munitions and arms used by Ukrainian troops fighting the insurgents, according to Ukrainian television.

At least two civilians were killed and eight people injured in a similar incident in October 2015 in the government-held city of Svatove, some 60 kilometres outside rebel-held territory. 

Soviet-era military warehouses usually contain large amounts of weapons and ammunition that sometimes are stored in poor conditions. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Mart 2017, 12:08