Huge explosion at Ukraine ammunition depot prompts mass evacuation

More than 30,000 people have been evacuated after a blaze ripped through an ammunition depot in central Ukraine in what Kiev authorities called an act of “sabotage.”

The blaze at a military base near Kalynivka in the Vinnytsa region, about 110 mile southwest of Kiev, is the second massive explosion at a weapons storage site this year.

A powerful explosion is seen in the ammunition depot at a military base in Kalynivka Credit: AP

Footage from the scene showed pillars of flame and mushroom clouds curling above the base as explosions occurred every few seconds. Rockets could be seen launching at random into the skies around the base.

Authorities said on Wednesday morning that two people had been injured. No one has yet been reported killed by the blasts.

Volodymyr Groysman, the Ukrainian prime minister, flew to the scene to overnight at on the instructions of Petro Poroshenko, the president.

“This is the arsenal of the Ukrainian army, and I think it was no accident that it was destroyed,” Mr Groysman said in televised remarks.

Massive fireballs light up the sky Credit: AP

Earlier the SBU, the Ukrainian security service, said it suspected the fire was an act of sabotage.

The Ukrainian army said on its Facebook page that the fire began at about 10 pm local time (7 pm GMT), on Tuesday evening.

Explosions continued early on Wednesday morning Credit:  SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP

Police evacuated 30,000 people from the surrounding area, including patients from local hospitals, and closed airspace in a radius of 30 miles around the site.

About 100 conscript soldiers were evacuated from the base itself. 

Photographs from the scene showed several houses and vehicles destroyed by debris or rogue shells.  

A local man inspects a damaged building in Kalynivka on Wednesday morning Credit: SERGEY DOLZHENKO/EPA

The Kalynivka arms depot was one of the largest in Ukraine, and housed thousands of artillery shells, bullets, and rockets.

It follows a similar explosion that killed one person at a site in Balakliya, in the eastern Kharkiv region, in March.

A man examines a car destroyed by the explosions in Kalynivka Credit: SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP

The Ukrainian government blamed that incident on Russia or the separatist forces it arms and supplies in the neighbouring Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

The Balakliya site is less than 100 miles from the front line of the slow-burning war between Ukrainian government forces and Russian and separatist troops, which has killed over…

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