Blasts Rock Russian Arms Depot, Eight Injured

By Reuters

Massive explosions at a Russian military ammunition depot in Siberia injured at least eight people and prompted the evacuation of thousands on Aug. 5.

Eleven thousand Russians were being evacuated from neighborhoods in Krasnoyarsk region’s city of Achinsk following blasts and a fire at a military storage facility, TASS news agency cited local authorities as saying.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said a fire triggered the explosions at a storage facility for gunpowder charges near the city of Achinsk in eastern Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk region.

Photographs showed a huge explosion on the horizon with flames leaping into the sky followed by belching black smoke.

Explosions are seen at the military base, about 10 kilometers from Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk region, Russia Far East, on Aug. 5, 2019. (Liza Uskova via AP)

Eight people were injured in the incident, TASS news agency cited doctors as saying. A Russian soldier was killed, TASS cited a source as saying. A source from another agency, RIA, at the defense ministry denied the information about the soldier’s death.

Authorities declared a state of emergency in the region and ordered the evacuation of residents of several districts in Achinsk, as well as towns and villages within 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) of the depot.

Air traffic was suspended within 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) of the munitions site. Videos posted by local residents showed powerful explosions sending plumes of black smoke high into the sky.

Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer outside China, suspended operations at its Achinsk alumina plant and evacuated all but essential staff to ensure their safety, it said.

The plant is Russia’s largest producer of alumina, a raw material which is smelted into aluminum.

Loading is operating on schedule at Russian oil giant Rosneft’s Achinsk oil refinery, TASS quoted a refinery spokesperson as saying. The refinery is located 30km from the military base.

Explosions are seen at the military base
Explosions are seen at the military base, about 10 kilometers from Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk region, Russia Far East, on Aug. 5, 2019. (Liza Uskova via AP)

Ammunition depot explosions are not unusual in Russia. After the most recent incident in May 2018, a fire raged for almost a week before water drops from military aircraft and helicopters helped put out the blaze.

Russia Says Attack on Its Syria Base Injures 4

Russia’s military says terrorists fired three unguided rockets at its air base in Syria, injuring four civilians but causing no damage to the facility.

The Russian defense ministry said Monday that the rockets hit a village near the Hmeimeem air base in Latakia province on Syria’s Mediterranean coast.

The attack comes as the Syrian army says it will resume its offensive on the northwestern Idlib province, the last opposition-held stronghold, accusing insurgents of violating a recent truce.

The cease fire, which went into effect Aug. 1, marked a brief pause in the stalled three-month offensive against al-Qaida-linked terrorists and other jihadi groups that dominate Idlib and surrounding areas.

The assault on the enclave began April 30, displacing more than 400,000 people and killing hundreds. Around 3 million people are living inside the rebel-held area.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.