KIEV, September 27. /TASS/. An effort to tackle a fire and explosions at a military depot near the Ukrainian city of Vinnitsa involves over 1,200 personnel, the country’s emergencies service said in a report on Wednesday.
"In total, more 1,255 people and 47 pieces of heavy equipment are involved in tackling the emergency situation," the ministry said.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has deployed two firefighting tanks in the zone of the disaster, while the Ukrainian railways has send three firefighting trains.
The zone was closed for rail and road traffic. The road police have blocked the Vinnitsa-Zhitomir-Kiev national road for traffic to prevent congestion while the national railway company Ukrzaliaznytsya has diverted fourteen passenger trains to bypass routes. A no-fly zone was imposed within the 50-km radius near the settlement of Kalinovka.
According to the Vinnitsa region police, residents of six settlements within the five-kilometer zone from the depot have been evacuated. Three temporary shelters were set up to accommodate those fleeing their homes.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman assumed personal control of the situation.
"The situation is under control. Equipment and personnel have been deployed. People are being evacuated. There is no panic," he said. "Everything will be fine. We will do our best to minimize the aftermath of this accident."
Groisman named "outside interference" as one of the possible reasons, which are currently under investigation.
According to media reports, the fire is yet to be contained. No deaths or casualties have been reported so far.
According to the Vinnitsa region administration’s website, the fire coincided with a major anti-terrorism exercise in the region. It is yet unclear whether the two events were related.
The warehouse in Vinnitsa houses some 188,000 tonnes of munitions at the area of 60 hectares, including projectiles for Smerch, Uragan and Grad multiple rocket launch systems.
A number of similar incidents took place at Ukrainian military depots in the past days. On September 22, a fire broke out at an arms depot in the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk Region. It was extinguished on the following day. Earlier this year, blazes and explosions were reported at military warehouses in Balakleya and Svatovo.