Ammunition depot explosion in Central Ukraine: what we know so far

September 27, 2017
48th arsenal of the А1119 military base near Kalynivka (Vinnytsia region) has caught fire last night. First explosions were reported at 22:00 on Tuesday, 26 September. This the second largest ammunition depot of Ukraine’s armed forces after Balakliya, which faced the very same tragedy this March. More than 30 thousand of local inhabitants were evacuated—2 of them were injured. Moreover, villages adjacent to the arms depot received heavy damage from the shrapnel.

Here is what we know now:

  1. Ukrainian authorities have already started the investigation. Viktor Muzhenko, the Head of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has set out to the site of the incident and took charge of the investigation. Volodymyr Groysman, Ukraine's PM, headed out to Kalynivka as well. Olena Hitlyanska, a spokesperson of Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) told Hromadske that military prosecution investigates the incident as possible subversive action. Moreover, President Poroshenko announced that a military council will be gathered to deal with the aftermath of the incident. It will consist of Ukraine's PM, defence minister, National Security and Defence council head, SBU head, as well as chiefs of National Police, National Guard and State Emergency Service.
  2. The evacuation of local residents is taking place. According to the report by Hromadske, more than 30 thousand people in 10-kilometer zone were relocated so far, but the process is still ongoing. National police from Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr and Khnelnytskyi regions handled the evacuation. Fortunately, there were no casualties—only two people were injured.
  3. Airway and railroad connections near Kalynivka were closed. Yuriy Lavreniuk, Ukraine's deputy infrastructure minister, announced the 50-kilometer no-flight zone and noted that all the trains which would go through Kalynivka were stopped. At the moment, the routes of 47 trains were changed due to the incident.
  4. There were no chemical weapons stored in Kalynivka ammunition depot. Shortly after the beginning of explosions the rumour appeared that chemical weapons were stored in the warehouses which were exploding. However, General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine refuted these claims.
  5. This is a second incident in a week. On 22 September, the explosions started at arms depot in Maloyanysol near Mariupol. A fire on a farmland near the village of spread to the arms depot causing detonations, the Defence Ministry has said. This incident has also been investigated as possible subversive action, but no conclusions were announced so far.