Ukraine's Exploding Munition Depots Give Ammunition to Security Concerns

2017/10/6 20:54:37

Photo: Clouds of smoke and fire billow from a Ukrainian ammunition depot near the city of Kalynivka that burst into flames on the night of September 26-27.


By Tony Wesolowsky for RFE/RL, October 06, 2017 1407 GMT


It was dusk when the chain of explosions began, feeding a towering fireball that would force the evacuation of 30,000 locals and send 1,200 firefighters scrambling to the arms depot situated outside the central Ukrainian town of Kalynivka.


Miraculously, when the dust settled the next day it was revealed that only two people had been injured, and the facility that stored more than 200,000 tons of munitions no longer posed an immediate threat to the community.


But concerns about Ukraine's aging Soviet-era ammunition depots didn't go away after residents returned. Blasts have been reported at four ammo dumps in Ukraine in the past two years, raising fears about the stability of munitions, security, and sabotage as Kyiv continues to wage war with Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country.


More than a week after the dramatic events of September 26-27, Ukraine is still coming to grips with the scale of the Kalynivka explosion.


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