Two Russian villages were evacuated on Thursday over a fire that broke out at a munitions depot near the border with Ukraine, local authorities said.
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That fire comes days after explosions at a military base and a munitions depot in Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Moscow, with Russia acknowledging an “act of sabotage” by Kyiv in the latter case.
“An ammunition depot caught fire near the village of Timonovo,” which is less than 50 km from the Ukrainian border in Belgorod province, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a statement.
There were no casualties, but residents of Timonovo and the nearby village of Soloti were “removed to a safe distance,” he said, adding that authorities are investigating the reasons for the fire.
A huge fireball was seen in a video posted to social media, releasing a thick column of black smoke. In another video, multiple explosions could be seen in close succession in the distance.
The fire, which broke out on Thursday, came amid a burst of explosions that hit Russian military installations near Ukraine.
In early August, an explosion of military aviation ammunition near the Saki airbase in Crimea left one dead and several injured.
A few days later, an ammunition depot in Crimea was blown up by explosions. In the latter case, Moscow, which rarely happens, has admitted to an “act of sabotage”.
Since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine in late February, Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukrainian forces of conducting strikes on its soil, particularly in the Belgorod region.
Rockets fell on the city of Belgorod, the provincial capital, last month, killing four people, according to local authorities.
In early April, Mr. Gladkov accused Ukraine of carrying out an attack on a fuel depot in Belgorod using two helicopters.