Multiple blasts and an ensuing fire at an ammunition depot in northern Ukraine has prompted the compulsory evacuation of nearly 10,000 people in the area.
The fiery incident occurred early Tuesday morning at a Ukrainian Defense Ministry depot near the city of Chernigov, about 180 kilometers east of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, officials said.
The area was placed on lockdown for air and land travel immediately following the explosions, they added.
No casualties have so far been reported as a result of the incident, and it was not instantly clear whether the blasts were the outcome of an accident or sabotage.
According to a statement by Ukraine’s emergency services, the airspace within a 20-kilometer radius of the military site has been closed and road and rail transport in the immediate vicinity has also been suspended.
“About 10,000 people were evacuated,” said the statement. “From 04:22 am (0122 GMT) the airspace within a radius of 20 km has been closed. The movement of rail and road transport is suspended.”
The statement further said that hundreds of emergency workers had been deployed to the munitions depot and that the chief of Ukraine’s armed forces had also traveled to the location.
Huge explosions also occurred last year at a military depot in Ukraine’s Vynnytsya region, 270 kilometers west of Kiev, prompting local authorities to evacuate 24,000 people.
The incident occurred a day after Ukrainian military started a series of large-scale aerial war games with the United States and other NATO member countries.
The “Clear Sky 2018” war games, which will run until October 19, are being held in western Ukraine.
Ukraine is involved in a military crackdown on ethnic Russians in the east of the country.
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