March 23, 2017- Fort Russ News -
By J. Arnoldski -
Early Thursday morning, inhabitants of the small town of Balakleya in Ukraine’s Kharkov region woke up to explosions. As it turned out, the country’s largest munition depot, carrying a total of 138,000 tons of shells, located just outside the city has caught fire and is exploding. This has since been confirmed by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense.
20,000 local residents have been evacuated from the warehouse area. “People just took their documents and ran out of their homes,” local residents told media. No one has been reported as injured.
“The first wave of the evacuation has been completed. The bulk of the population has been evacuated by buses. Now the buses are returning to evacuate the rest. Specialists are now going from house to house to check who’s left,” Balakleya’s district administration has stated.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense also released a statement: “Today, March 23rd, at 2:45 A.M., a fire started in certain areas of the weapons base located in the city of Balakleya in the Kharkov region. All measures are being taken to contain and extinguish the fire on the spot.”
Ukraine’s military prosecutor, Anatoly Matios, has declared a “security zone” in the area and called the incident an act of sabotage.
A government commission is being sent to the area including Deputy Defense Minister Igor Pavlovsky, officers from the Ministry of Defense and General Staff, and Prime Minister Vladimir Groysman. Heavy fire-fighting forces are working at the scene, but so far the disaster has not been quelled.
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