Fire at Ukraine arms depot triggers blasts, evacuations

A fire tore through a major munitions depot in Ukraine, setting off artillery shells, forcing the closure of airspace for 50 kilometres around and the evacuation of residents.

Published: 27th September 2017 11:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th September 2017 11:12 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose


KIEV: A fire tore through a major munitions depot in Ukraine, setting off artillery shells, forcing the closure of airspace for 50 kilometres around and the evacuation of residents, officials and reports said.

The fire broke out at around 10pm near the town of Kalynivka in the central Vinnytsia region, the Ukrainian army high command said on Facebook.

It was the second major incident affecting a Ukrainian weapons depot this year. And while the cause was not immediately clear, military authorities were investigating the possibility of sabotage or negligence.

Police spokesman Yaroslav Trakalo said the fire had caused artillery shells at the facility to explode one after the other, news outlet Pravda said on its website.

It was not immediately clear how extensive the damage from the explosions was but local media described the depot as one of the largest in the country.

Local authorities said they had ordered the evacuation of Kalynivka and two neighbouring villages, while urging people not to panic.

"Airspace has been closed in a radius of 50 kilometres around the area of the fire," deputy infrastructure minister Yuriy Lavrenyuk said on Facebook.

Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman arrived at the site shortly after midnight to coordinate the emergency response, his office said.

The city of Vinnytsia, the administrative centre of the region, was not in danger, its mayor said.

Some road and rail traffic in the region had been affected by the blast.

In March, at least one person was killed when an arms depot exploded in the town of Balakliya, in the east.

Authorities at the time pointed the finger at Moscow and pro-Russian separatists fighting Ukrainian troops in the east, and said they were considering the possibility that the fire was caused by explosives dropped from a drone.

Vinnytsia lies around 200 kilometres west of Kiev, far away from the area where Ukrainian troops have been fighting pro-Russian rebels since 2014 in a conflict that has left more than 10,000 people dead.

Kiev and many Western countries accuse Moscow of supporting the insurgents, which Russia vehemently denies.

The conflict broke out after Moscow annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, soon after the overthrow of Ukraine's pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych following mass protests in Kiev.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp