An accident at a Russian Army ammunition depot turned catastrophic today as a series of explosions killed one soldier and hurled shrapnel more than nine miles. At least eight others are reported wounded with windows in a nearby town blown out by the shockwave. The incident, still ongoing, is located outside the Siberian city of Achinsk.
The explosion generated a mushroom cloud over the blast site and sent shrapnel flying as far as 9.3 miles away. Government officials ordered the evacuation of 11,000 civilians living nearby, and the airspace near the site was closed to air traffic.
According to TASS, a Russian government-owned news organization, the explosion took place at the Logistics Support Center of the Central Military District. Russian soldiers were working in an ammunition storage warehouse handling propellant charges—bags of explosive propellant shoved behind artillery shells in howitzers and other artillery pieces—when somehow something went very, very wrong.
In addition to the propellant charges, the site was also home to 25,000 artillery shells. The Siberian Times reports the Russian Army involved is the “74008 military unit” and that soldiers of the unit were stuck in a bomb shelter as the explosions continued.
TASS further reports that two “disposal sites” were still burning. This suggests the munitions were old or obsolete and were being disposed of. Russia inherited large stocks of weapons and ammunition after the fall of the Soviet Union, much of which was already old. TASS also noted that the warehouse where the explosion took place was one of the oldest in Russia and scheduled for demolition in 2022.
Siberia is currently the location of several large forest fires, but the already taxed Russian government is sending two firefighting trains to the explosion site. Moscow is also sending two Uran-14 firefighting robots. Uran-14 is equipped with high pressure nozzles that spray water a distance of up to 180 feet and a dozer blade capable of shoving up to 10 tons of debris. The Uran-14 can also be configured to act as an engineer mineclearing vehicle in wartime.
Вибухи на складах з боєприпасами дісталися й Росії. Вибух і пожежа сталися на артилерійському складі військової частини, що розташовується між Ачинськом і Назаровим. На цьому складі зберігалися близько 40 тисяч снарядів калібру 125 і 152 міліметри. Під час інциденту осколкові поранення отримали щонайменше чотири людини. Наразі відбувається евакуацію жителів всіх населених пунктів в радіусі 20 кілометрів. Очевидці, кажуть, що стовпи диму видно майже в усіх частинах Ачинська. Окрім того, через вибухи зруйновано кілька будинків #Achinsk #Россия #Russia #24канал
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There has also been speculation that this explosion could be used to divert, or to obscure what has already been diverted, weapons and other explosives to current conflict zones, mostly focusing on the possibility of some prototype being deploy instead of incorrect deconstruction of fissile material. However these are pure speculations from anonymous sources. Which only serve to highlight the importance enforcement mechanisms of treaties like the INF.