2 injured in fire at ammunition storage site in Crimea

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A fire at an ammunition storage site in Crimea injured two people on Tuesday, local officials said, a week after a series of explosions at an air base on the peninsula annexed to Ukraine by Russia.

The fire and explosions rocked the village of Mayskoye in Crimea’s Dzhankoi district early on Tuesday, Russian media reported.

The Russian Defense Ministry said a fire broke out at a “temporary ammunition storage site of one of the military units”.

“As a result of the fire, the stored munitions exploded,” the ministry said, adding that the cause of the fire was not immediately clear.

Crimea’s Russian-appointed governor, Sergei Aksyonov, said two people were injured and local residents were being evacuated from the area, as munitions explosions continued.

Ukrainian authorities have yet to comment on the incident.

Last week, a series of explosions occurred at the Saki air base near the village of Novofyodorovka in Crimea. The Russian military blamed the explosions on an accidental detonation of ammunition there, but the incident appears to be the result of a Ukrainian attack. Kyiv said the blasts destroyed nine Russian planes.

Ukrainian officials at the time refrained from publicly claiming responsibility for the explosions, while mocking Russia’s explanation that a careless smoker could have caused the fire and explosion of munitions at the airbase by Saki. Analysts also said that this explanation made no sense and that the Ukrainians could have used anti-ship missiles to hit the base.

The Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, is of enormous strategic and symbolic importance to both sides. The Kremlin’s demand that Ukraine recognize Crimea as part of Russia has been one of its main conditions for ending the fighting, while Ukraine has pledged to drive the Russians out of the peninsula and all other occupied territories.


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The Associated Press


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