Ukraine: 30,000 evacuated over munitions depot fire

27/09/2017 - 18:16 Published in News/General

Around 30,000 people were evacuated after a fire at a munitions depot in western Ukraine, officials said on Wednesday. 

The state emergency services said the blast took place at midnight at a Defense Ministry warehouse near the town of Kalynivka in the western Vinnytsia region, 270 kilometers (168 miles) west of the capital Kiev.

One person was also injured and hospitalized during the fire, it added.

The reason for the blast was unknown, but Ukrainian General Staff officials told reporters that they could not exclude the possibility of sabotage.

Fire and rescue teams were dispatched to the area. 

Annexation and conflict

This March, one woman was killed and about 15,000 people were evacuated after explosions at a military munitions depot in eastern Ukraine.

The site of the March explosion, in the eastern Kharkiv region, is near areas wracked by fighting between government forces and Russian-backed separatists. 

At the time Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak told reporters that the explosion could have been caused by sabotage.

Ukraine has been wracked by conflict since March 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea after an illegal independence vote.

The UN General Assembly voted to proclaim the Russian annexation illegal.

Along with many UN countries, the U.S., the EU and Turkey also do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.

Fighting in eastern Ukraine between the government and Russian separatists has killed more than 10,000 people since April 2014, according to the UN.