At least 13 dead and thousands evacuated after huge explosion at ammo depot

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At least 13 people have died after an explosion at a Russian ammunition depot, foreign media reports.

Authorities evacuated more than 2,300 people from more than 10 villages in the western region of Ryazan on October 7.

Anyone within a 5km (3.1m) radius of the depot were taken from the site.

The depot caught fire when a blaze in a nearby field was swept toward it by the wind, the Russian military was cited by the TASS news agency as saying.

Rounds could be heard exploding once every 5-10 seconds, according to the RIA news agency.

Dramatic pictures and video footage show flames and huge clouds of smoke rising into the sky.

The depot reportedly contained 75,000 tonnes of munitions.

The regional governor, Nikolai Lyubimov, described the situation as “complex” but said in a statement: “The worst is behind us, the situation is under control.”

An investigative committee has since launched an inquiry into potential breaches of rules on handling weapons.

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Officials in charge of the site confirmed its troops were also evacuated after they attempted unsuccessfully to fight the fire.

Such accidents are relatively common in Russia due to large amounts of old munitions remaining in storage.

Last August, a depot containing tens of thousands of artillery shells exploded near the town of Achinsk in Siberia.

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Thousand of people were evacuated and at least eight were injured.

A state of emergency was declared in the area, west of the city of Krasnoyarsk.

Children at a summer camp were rushed to safety and soldiers at the base took refuge in bomb shelters.

  • Russia

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