Thousands evacuated in Ukraine as ammunition depot explodes


KIEV:Massive explosions and a blaze at a military ammunition depot in central Ukraine forced authorities to evacuate 24,000 people and close airspace over the region, officials said on Wednesday.

The blasts occurred late on Tuesday at a military base near Kalynivka in the Vynnytsya region, 270 kilometres west of the capital Kiev, Ukrainian emergencies service said in a statement.

One person was injured, it said further.

Arriving in the region hours later, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said “external factors” were behind the incident.

On August 24, two people were injured by an explosion in the centre of Kiev on Independence Day, according to the police. The incident had occurred as US Defence Secretary James Mattis was on a visit to Ukraine.

Since fighting with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine broke out in 2014, the number of incidents involving explosives outside the conflict zone has increased.