2 injured in fire at ammunition storage site in Crimea

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A fire at an ammunition storage facility in Crimea injured two people Tuesday, local officials said, one of a series of explosions at an air base on the peninsula. It comes weeks after Russia annexed Ukraine.

Fires and explosions rocked the Myskoye village of Crimea’s Zhankoye district early Tuesday morning, Russian media reported.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the fire broke out at a “temporary ammunition storage area of ​​one of the military units”.

“As a result of the fire, the stored ammunition exploded,” the ministry said, adding that it was not immediately clear what caused the fire.

Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-appointed governor of Crimea, said two people had been wounded, and local residents were being evacuated from the area, as ammunition explosions continued.

Ukrainian authorities have not yet commented on the incident.

Last week, a series of explosions rocked the Saki Air Base near the village of Novofeodorovka in Crimea. The Russian military blamed the blasts on the accidental detonation of explosives there, but the incident appears to have been the result of an attack by Ukraine. Nine Russian aircraft were destroyed in the explosions, Kyiv said.

At the time, Ukrainian officials refused to publicly claim responsibility for the blasts, scoffing at Russia’s explanation that a careless smoker had caused the munitions to catch fire and explode at the Saki air base. Analysts also said the explanation made no sense and that the Ukrainians could have used anti-ship missiles to attack the base.

The Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, is of great strategic and symbolic importance to both sides. The Kremlin’s demand that Ukraine recognize Crimea as part of Russia is one of its main conditions for an end to the fighting, while Ukraine has vowed to expel Russians from the peninsula and all other occupied territories.

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