Russia: Siberia Ammo Depot Explosion Forced Thousands to Evacuate

TOPSHOT - This screen grab from a video made on August 5, 2019 shows explosions at an ammunition depot near the town of Achinsk in the Krasnoyarsk region. - Up to eight people were injured and thousands were evacuated on August 5, 2019 because of a fire at a Siberian …
-/AFP/Getty Images

At least one person died and dozens were injured following multiple explosions at a Russian ammo depot in Siberia over the past week, the country’s regional Health Ministry confirmed on Monday.

The first series of explosions took place at a military unit in the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk Krai a week ago, forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency and evacuate 16,000 residents. The incident also left 15 casualties, many of whom were hospitalized and one whose injuries were fatal.

The second round of explosions occurred on Friday, injuring five people. Local officials said the blasts were caused by a “lightning strike” while soldiers were carrying out a bomb disposal operation.

“The total number of those injured in the munitions blasts on the territory of a military unit near the Kamenka village of the Achinsky district has reached 33,” the Krasnoyarsk region’s health administration said in a statement on Monday.

Footage of the incident went viral across the Internet, as the explosions released an “apocalyptic fireball and vast plumes of smoke that dominated the horizon.”

“As a result of the first wave of explosions that occurred on August 5th, 15 people were injured, one of whom died on the spot, six were hospitalized in the Achinsk MRB, and all hospitalized were of moderate severity,” the health administration said. “One victim was transferred to the regional ophthalmological hospital, and two others to a military hospital. Three remained for treatment in the hospital of the Achinsk MRB, where today only one of them remains.”

In another recent incident, the state nuclear company Rosatom revealed that an accident during a cruise missile test-firing killed five people and injured three others in the northern city of Nyonoska. The site is used for practically every missile system employed by the Russian Navy, including sea-launched cruise missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The Siberia explosions and missile accident follow a series of similar military accidents. Last month, 14 people died in a fire on a deep-water research submersible, the most serious incident since the Kursk submarine disaster in 2000 that claimed the lives of 118 personnel in the first year of Vladimir Putin’s presidency.

Just over a week later, a fire broke out at a gas pipeline near a thermal power plant in the Moscow suburbs, killing one person and injuring 13 others, forcing an evacuation of a nearby dormitory for local workers. That same week, two nuclear power plants were taken offline due to various malfunctions, evoking distressing memories of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, events of which were recently dramatized in the highly acclaimed HBO mini-series Chernobyl. 

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