Fire engulfs Russian ammunition depot near Ukraine – governor
A series of explosions have rocked an ammunition depot south of the Russian city of Belgorod, close to the Ukrainian border, a day after several villages in the same region came under attacks which have been blamed on Kiev's forces.
The first powerful blasts were heard across the region around 3:30am local time, with some reports claiming air defenses had been activated. Several photos and videos showing a fire, followed by secondary explosions, soon started making the rounds on social media.
There were no reports of casualties or damage to civilian infrastructure, according to the regional governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, who said a local official had confirmed that an ammunition depot was burning near the village of Staraya Nelidovka, some 12 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
The blaze was reportedly contained by 6:30am, but the exact cause of the incident remains unknown.
Since the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24, numerous settlements in the Belgorod Region have been hit by salvos, with several criminal cases subsequently opened. On Monday night alone, local authorities accused Ukraine of shelling at least three villages, including the settlements of Zhuravlevka, Golovchino and Nekhoteevka.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.