A Russian ammunition depot located about nine miles from the Ukrainian border caught fire Thursday, forcing residents of two nearby settlements to evacuate, according to local authorities.
Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Belgorod region, confirmed the fire in a Telegram post, saying that the latest reports indicated there were no casualties. Gladkov wrote in the post that residents of the villages of Timonovo and Soloti, which Reuters reported are located about nine miles from Ukraine, were evacuated to a “safe distance.”
“Emergency services are on the scene and the cause of the fire is under investigation,” he added.
More details on the severity of the blaze and what equipment was stored inside the depot that went up in flames were not immediately available.
Belgorod is a region in western Russia whose administrative center is a city with the same name. In early July, when a string of blasts hit dozens of residential buildings in the city of Belgorod, the Kremlin alleged that they were part of a deliberate attempt from Ukraine to target Russian civilians, the BBC reported. Ukraine denied the accusation and said that Russia had lied in the past about such incidents.
Still, this was of several instances in which mysterious explosions and fires have been reported in the Russian region since the start of the Russia-Ukraine War in late February.
In late April, Russian state media reported that a Russian ammunition depot in the Belgorod province caught on fire in the early morning hours and the sound of explosions rang out.
“At approximately 03:35 I woke up from a loud bang that sounded like a blast. As I was writing this post, three more blasts were heard,” Gladkov reportedly wrote on Telegram at the time.
In a similar instance in early May, explosions were reportedly heard in the sky over Belgorod.
“A loud bang, similar to the sound of an explosion of medium strength, was heard in the center of Belgorod,” state news agency RIA Novosti reported at the time.
Days later, local Belgorod officials posted on VKontakte, Russia’s equivalent of Facebook, that residents woke up to the sound of explosions and alerted authorities that smoke was rising from an area of a village called Dubovoye.
Videos were circulating on social media Thursday afternoon that some users, including Ukrainian government official Anton Gerashchenko, said showed a fire at a Russian ammo depot in Belgorod. Newsweek was not able to independently verify if the videos showed the same ammunition depot fire that was confirmed by Gladkov.
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