Russian troops called to fight in Ukraine were killed in an explosion caused by the “careless handling” of ammunition, according to Russian state media.
The Ukraine invasion continued to stagnate for more than ten months after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his plans for the “special military operation.” Although Putin initially aimed for a quick victory against his smaller Eastern European neighbor, his troops have struggled to achieve any substantial victories as losses continue piling up.
Military experts say the invasion exposed several flaws among Putin’s troops, including an inability to maintain well-trained, motivated ones. These weaknesses, coupled with Kyiv’s stronger-than-expected defense effort that has been bolstered by Western military aid, has allowed Ukraine to retake thousands of square miles of formerly occupied territory, blunting Putin’s military gains.
In the latest blow to Putin’s military, at least 25 servicemen were killed during an explosion at the Tonenkoe farm in Russia’s Belgorod region, according to a report from Russian state media TASS on Sunday.
At least 70 of Putin’s troops called to fight in Ukraine were killed in Bakhmut during an explosion reportedly caused by the mishandling of ammunition, according to Russian state media.
Russian officials publicly revealed few details about the incident, but early investigations pointed to troops’ mishandling of ammunition as the cause of the explosion. In addition to the soldiers killed, at least 15 others suffered injuries of an unknown extent.
“The preliminary cause of the explosion is careless handling of ammunition,” an emergency services representative told TASS.
Russian military Telegram channels offered more insight into how the explosion occurred.
The Baza Telegram channel reported a serviceman, located in the local village’s house of culture, picked up a grenade “in order to gain authority in front of his subordinates,” causing the blast that spanned 450 square meters. Firefighters spent four hours trying to put out the blaze.
Meanwhile, the Russian Telegram channel “112” reported that ammunition in a nearby storage room was detonated during the explosion, but it remained unknown how much or what sort of ammunition was destroyed during the blast. A criminal investigation has been opened into the explosion.
The blast is the latest military action to shake Belgorod, which is located near the border of Ukraine, this week.
Just days earlier, a fire broke out a base in Belgorod as it was undergoing repairs. The fire reportedly began due to a violation of fire safety, causing ammunition to detonate. At least one tank was completely destroyed, and two others were damaged.
In addition, citizens of the regions have raised concerns that a new military defense line has cut off one village, leaving it vulnerable to attacks from Ukraine, according to independent Russian news outlet Meduza. As residents complain they were left “on the front line,” regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said the line “does not mean that anybody has been abandoned or is not protected.”
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