Two killed in ammo depot blasts in war-torn east Ukraine

ukraine mapTwo civilians were killed and eight people injured in a series of explosions at a munitions depot in war-torn eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian military officials said Friday.

A fire caused a series of ammunition explosions on Thursday evening at military depots close to the government-held city of Svatove, about 60 kilometres from rebel-controlled territory in the eastern Lugansk region, military spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told AFP.

The fire was still raging Friday morning with security forces and rescue workers on high alert, he added.

“According to the latest information, two civilians were killed and another eight people were injured,” in the blasts, regional military spokesman Ruslan Tkachuk told AFP by phone, adding that four of those wounded were soldiers.

Officials said the area had been cordoned off and roads leading to the city were closed. Soldiers had also been evacuated from their base, as well as civilians living nearby.

Soviet-era military warehouses usually contain large amounts of weapons and ammunition that sometimes are stored in poor conditions.

According to the local media, the Svatove location contains nearly 3,500 tons of ammunition, including Grad, Hurricane and Smerch missile systems.

The 18-month-long Ukraine conflict between government forces and pro-Russian separatists has claimed over 8,000 lives and displaced 1.5 million.

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