A huge explosion at a military chemical plant in rebel-held Donetsk rocked eastern Ukraine, after residents reported the blast smashing windows and shaking the ground.
Windows were shattered and homes shaken in Donetsk after a huge blast rocked the vicinity of a city chemical plant which was under rebel control. Kiev and the militants accuse each other of causing the blast.
The powerful explosion took place at 10:50pm local time on Sunday. Local militia reported that a military chemical plant DKZHI was the target of Kiev’s artillery shelling.
Witnesses saw the sky lit up by the explosion, some nearby living residents had their windows broken by the blast’s shockwave and many others felt the ground shake, RIA Novosti reported. Even those living in nearby towns said they felt the tremor.
“The center of the blast was near DKZHI,” co-chairman of the anti-Kiev People’s Front Konstantin Dolgov said on his Facebook page. The factory is known for producing chemical products used for industrial explosives, ammunition and equipment artillery bombs. This is not the first time the plant has been the target of a Kiev attack. It was also hit with artillery rockets in September and November.
The militia forces would not immediately confirm if there were casualties, either among militiamen or civilians. But they said the fire, which started after the explosion, poses no threat of a chemical spill, which is a cause of great concern at the plant, as it handles toxic compounds in producing explosives.
“The fire has been contained. There is not threat of chemical spill… Most likely it was a high-caliber artillery shell,” said an official from the Donetsk People’s Republic.
The spokesman for Kiev’s Anti-Terrorist Operation said that rebels were at fault for the accident.
“This was caused by a dropped cigarette butt,” Andrey Lysenko told the media on Monday, “Accidents often happen in factories where no one is responsible for fire safety. Well, it’s chaos, and they are barbarians.”
Not all pro-Kiev officials agreed.
The Ukrainian military deployed a Smerch (the BM-30 Tornado) multiple rocket system to shell the area in the city, Boris Filatov, former deputy head of the industrial Dnepropetrovsk Region and a member of the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada), said on his Facebook page.