Huge explosions and fire rocked a Russian ammunition depot Friday, leaving dozens of people missing and prompting the evacuation of thousands of civilians nearby, officials and Russian news agencies said.
The blasts and fire erupted while ammunition was being destroyed at the arsenal in the Ulyanovsk province, according to the Federal Security Service branch in the region, 720 kilometers (430 miles) east of Moscow. The explosions and fire continued to rage for hours.
Provincial governor Sergei Morozov said 35 people who were working at the facility were considered missing, the Interfax, RIA Novosti and ITAR-Tass news agencies reported. Morozov was quoted as saying 10 people were hospitalized and 3,000 people were evacuated.
Television networks broadcast footage showing flames and thick clouds of smoke rising from the military facility, with frequent explosions lighting up the night sky. The blasts shook windows and set off car alarms miles (kilometers) away, the INterfax news agency reported.
Several explosions and fires have occurred at munitions storage facilities in the former Soviet Union in recent years. There has been no indication of terrorism in the conflagrations, according to The Associated Press's report.
One should expect a winter escalation of hostilities. We will definitely see it either in December or early next year. There is no reason for a break - only a small part of the mobilised has been deployed to the zone of the special operation yet